Red Winged Blackbird – Magick, Community and Activism

I have been thinking for a week about writing this blog post.  What to say, what not to say, how to say it, etc. I had a profound and beautiful experience last week and I wanted to share it, but maybe some background is necessary.
Where to begin? I’m a GenX white woman, skirting back and forth between lower class and middle class in terms of finances.  I relate to Millenials, and politically identify as a liberal Independent.  I’m a pagan (Eclectic Pantheist), a mother, a wife, and I have chronic pain and chronic illnesses.

I participated in The Woman’s March in my city on January 21.  I marched for many of my own personal reasons, and also to join in Solidarity with my sisters around the country and the world. (Is it sad that as I type this I am thinking of ways to defend my participation in this march?  There was a lot of criticism on the march, but I don’t want to spend time defending something that was actually quite beautiful and powerful.)  That march, with 10,000 people on the streets in my city was so humbling and beautiful.  People of every race, gender identity, religion, and age marched together peacefully.  It gave me so much hope, but I also knew that just marching on one day wouldn’t be enough.  We will need more marches, more follow up actions to keep this movement and other movements going.
A day or two after the Women’s March, some friends and I began talking about planning a Witches’ March.  Something in which local Pagans and Witches can come together on one day to show support for religious freedom, and protection of our Water and the Earth.  It is slowly taking form with some amazing women taking the lead on organizing details.  I was sitting with so many feelings that day. We had all heard the news that the Keystone Pipeline and Dakota Access Pipeline would be continued rather than stopped.  One part of me was still full of hopefulness after seeing such peaceful and beautiful marches all around the world.  The other part of me was feeling hopeless and pessimistic about whether we can really make a difference or not.  Will the leaders of the world and country listen to us?  Is this all too little, too late?  Not just in cases of women’s rights, but also in terms of our economy, our planet, religious freedom, and so much more.  As I sat in my home watching the events unfold politically, and also watching members of my Pagan community come together and start planning something amazing – my emotions were a bit of a rollercoaster.  I sat there in my kitchen with my fears and worries, alongside my hopefulness and optimism, and just sat with all these feelings.  Not trying to push them away but just feeling them all. It was not comfortable, but I didn’t know what else to do with these feelings except sit with them.
Eventually, I decided to ground and center my energy.  I remember thinking, “Mother Earth, I give you this energy from these feelings.  Help me turn this energy into something better.  Show me what to do”. as I released this all down into the earth. Suddenly, in that moment, I heard a very loud noise – the sound of hundreds of song birds singing outside. I looked up and saw that a large flock of birds had just descended onto my property.  There were hundreds of birds in the trees, on the grass, and on my porch.  I imagine they were on the roof of my house as well.  Looking out a different window I confirmed that they were pretty much surrounding the house.  Singing so loudly and beautifully.

I just stood at my window watching them in awe for a few minutes.  Mostly black birds.  But, yes there were other birds mixed in to the crowd.  Robins.  Starlings,  Woodpeckers even!  But the majority were those black birds and as I observed them I realized they were Red Winged Blackbirds.

I immediately went to find my copy of “Feathered Omens” by Ted Andrews, but unfortunatley Red Winged Blackbirds were not listed in that book.  So I did a quick Google Search for “Spiritual Meaning of Red Winged Blackbird” (the flock of birds still chirping away loudly in my yard and the trees surrounding the property) I found this page, and as I read it I started crying.

http://www.auntyflo.com/magic/red-winged-blackbird

Some quotes from the article that hit home with exactly the type of feelings I had been sitting with;

“These red-winged blackbirds are protective of their young ones. They also protect their mates and other birds by chasing away even larger predators. They do not fear. They only know how to showcase their courage and unified effort to protect their kin.”

“As you imbibe its strong trait, you will not fear being put in the middle of a crowd. You will show confidence and exhibit courage. Stand out even in the midst of crowd by showing your gifted talents and abilities”

“This can be interpreted that having this totem will enable you to do something that can be positively associated without you. It is like creating a legacy. To be known of something that is highly reputable and significantly recognized in the realm of this world. This can only happen if you will make yourself known to others. Someone who takes a stand on something that you strongly believe in. Never defy the essence of your existence. Speak out your idea or your positions. “

“This also teaches us the value of unity and strength in number. Unified efforts can undoubtedly lead towards the achievement of a goal. Be a team player. Let others know that you are dependable.  Learn to make ways on how are you going to protect each other against any harm especially those who are close to you – your family. Be firm but kind-hearted. Know that you can make others feel that they are loved, cared for and they are being protected. The sense of belongingness for a person is very important. “

“This creature teaches you to be live with confidence and love. This is a matter of communicating well. Learning to communicate what you think, what you feel, what you desire. Send that positive feelings to others and bring goodness to the community where you belong.”

” Red Winged Blackbird shows up as a spirit guide when…

  • You need the strength  of many.
  • You need to be a leader.
  • You need unity.
  • You are needing confidence.
  • You are forced to be part of a team.
  • You need to express your inner beauty …”

As I read and re-read these words, with tears in my eyes, the flock of birds slowly left the yard.  Not all at once, but gradually in the same way that my tears turned to resolve.  I was crying because the moment was so beautiful and I felt it was a direct response to what I had asked for when I sent that energy down into Mother Earth and asked Her for help and guidance.

So I will continue to connect with my community in every way I can.  I will continue to speak up, stand up, and speak out.  I will March.  I will sometimes yell.  Sometimes I will cry.  Sometimes I will share cute animal pictures.  I will try to balance my voice so that I am informative and helpful but also inspiring and sharing positivity when and where I can.

Last night I joined with The Ever Green Hearth in a ritual for Imbolc.  There, we all added water from our homes symbolically to Brigid’s well, joining together our energies, strengths, hopes and ideas as a community.  Then we took our wishes and dreams and threw them into the purifying fire. Brigid, hear our prayers!  Brigid thank you for your blessings!  Red Winged Blackbird, thank you for your message – to me and to others who might read this!  I will call on Red Winged Blackbird when I need some courage and need help finding my place within my community!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Moon In Cancer and The Chariot

In the early morning hours of January 12th, the moon will reach it’s fullest in the sign of Cancer.  Astrologically, Cancer is a sign of heightened emotion, motherhood, nurturing, and intuition.  Cancer loves deeply and fully, but has also learned to protect itself with a shell or a shield like a crab  because of unfortunate past pains.  This Full Moon might bring some of those past emotional pains to the surface again – this is not a curse but an opportunity for healing!

Two weeks ago we set our intentions with the New Moon in Capricorn occurring right before New Year’s Day.  We probably felt very optimistic and had big dreams for this new year in terms of our personal goals.  This is great, don’t lose sight of those!  There may have been some frustration through those first days of 2017, as we were in the middle of a Mercury Retrograde cycle which may have caused some delays.  The good news is, Mercury is now Direct again and we can really start doing the work that our goals require.

However, at the Full Moon we encounter the polar opposite in energy from what we felt at the New Moon.  Capricorn is external and does it’s work outwardly and physically, seeking recognition from peers and society.  Cancer energy is all internal, and much more private.  Here, our Capricorn New Moon goals meet the one thing that really can hold us back – US.  Our feelings, fears, and pain.  Not that Cancer is all negative energy…. it’s just that water holds memory and vibrates with whatever experiences it has held.  So the goals we set in that optimistic Capricorn New Moon come face to face with these parts of ourselves that can either lift us up, or hold us back – usually a blend of both.

The Tarot Card that is associated with the Astrological sign of Cancer is The Chariot.  In the traditional Rider Waite imagery of this card we see a chariot driver, in armor (much like that crab in it’s shell) with water flowing behind him.  The intuitive and compassionate energy of water is the driving force, and has certainly shaped this charioteer’s perspective.  Pulling the chariot are two sphynx.  One is black, and one is white.  There is a very Ying and Yang element here between these two forces that could be seen as opposing.  Yet here they are working together… just as I mentioned above that these experiences and emotions we have are both strengths and weaknesses.  The Chariot Driver has embraced both the light and dark parts of his psyche and uses them both equally in plotting his course.  Cancer is ruled by the moon, which also has these extremes of dark and light (New and Full phases) which equally have different things to teach us.  The Chariot Driver has crescent moons engraved in the shoulders of his armor.

Another thing that stands out about this card – the Chariot isn’t actually going anywhere.  This may seem counterproductive to some types who wish to always be moving forward (and it is certainly an opposite energy of Capricorn’s drive to be continually moving to the top)  Here is the true message of this card and this Full Moon:  Pause.  Feel.  Plan.  Integrate.

Yes, I know we’re chomping at the bit and ready to just move forward already!  But there may be an important lesson right now, some tidbit of information about ourselves that we must face, embrace, integrate or discard before we truly start our journey.  It’s that moment when we double check that we have everything packed before a trip.  We suddenly remember something else that will be useful… but the bags are already packed full.  So now we pause, take a deep breath, and begin to look through the bags again.  Can something else be taken out so that we can fit this other thing? Is there a way to pack more efficiently so we have room for all of it?  Is there something else we might have overlooked?

The Chariot doesn’t ask us to give up on our dream (Cancer is quite tenacious and doesn’t easily let go of a dream or ideal) but simply to make sure we are recognizing all the energies within us and available to us and using them equally and efficiently.  That past emotional pain that comes bubbling up?  It holds a lesson within in it.  That part of ourselves that we find annoying or useless?  It holds a hidden strength.  Integrate.
And if you find that there is a pain or a trait that isn’t useful anymore?  You can work on letting it go… the Charioteer has no room for excess baggage.

You can meditate on the lessons of Cancer and the Chariot over the next few days.  Journal, cry, process.  Listen to music that engages you on an emotional and spiritual level.  This is part of unpacking and re-packing that luggage so you’ll be ready for the next part of your journey.

Full Moon Blessings to you and Blessed Be!  I would be happy to help you through this process with a Tarot card reading.  This Full Moon Reading would be perfect for examining the energies available to you right now.  Or this Body, Mind, and Spirit reading could help you unpack and repack those suitcases for the next leg of your journey.  You could also contact me about a Reiki Healing session which could also help you integrate these energies and different aspects of yourself or heal emotional pains while balancing the chakras.

 

Bathroom Magick – Banishing

Bathroom Magick – BANISHING

You may not think of your bathroom as a very magickal place, or a place to do spells other than Ritual Bathing.  Check out my previous post about the Bathroom and see some ideas and tips for thinking of your bathroom as a sacred space (along with tips for cleaning it)

One type of magick that is perfect for the bathroom is Banishing.  As this is where we quite literally wash away dirt and grime, and ermmm… “release waste and toxins” from the body, we already have subconsciously related the bathroom to Banishing.  Let’s bring that correspondence to our conscious mind and utilize this space for some magick!

  • Pretty obviously, you can set the intention to banish or release stress and negativity every time you wash your hands and face or take a shower or bath.  You could even choose a soap that is infused with an oil or herb with banishing qualities and bless that soap with the intention of removing negativity every time you use it.  You can find soaps or face washes with Aloe, Blackberry, Cedar, Cinnamon, Clove, Coconut, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Peppermint, Raspberry, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Tumeric, and Witchhazel – all of these have banishing properties as well as benefits for the skin!
  • For washing away a bad habit, get a bar of soap and carve the name of the bad habit deeply into the soap.  Use the soap every day during a waning moon cycle and as the words carved in the soap fade so will your bad habit.  (intention and willpower are also important here!)  When the words have faded completely, throw the remaining soap away.
  • Detox – find some bath salts, face mask, or body mud that have detoxifying properties.  As you use these products, visualize the product not only drawing toxins out of your skin – but drawing out negativity and stress too.  Light some candles and bring some gemstones in your bathroom that absorb negativity – like Obsidian, Onyx, or Black Agate. (check out these awesome detox bath and skin products!)
  • Flush it! For a quick banishing spell, write down what you want to banish on some toilet paper.  Examples; “stress”, “debt”, “illness”, “depression”.  Sprinkle some banishing herbs or spices on the toilet paper, wad it up and Flush it down the toilet!  This can be really empowering as you visualize your problem being flushed away.  Add some power by saying,
    “Problem of mine, you cannot stay
    Problem be gone, flushed away!”
Thanks for reading!  Do you have more ideas for banishing spells that can be done in the bathroom?  Leave a comment!
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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.

Thunder Water

Thunder Water
Thunder Water, also called Jupiter Water is simply rain water collected during a thunderstorm. We have all felt the thrill of power in the air when there is a thunderstorm…. The lightning flashing, the air vibrates with the sound of rolling thunder. Lightning has long been associated with the Greek god Zeus or his Roman counterpart, Jupiter. Rain water collected during a thunderstorms is said to be charged with the protective energy of this powerful god. It can be used in spells or rituals for protection, healing, or to send negativity back to it’s source.

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Ways to use Thunder Water
* use it for house cleaning or as mop water to promote healing or protection of the home. Add some essential oils that boost either the protective energy or healing energy.
* put it in a spray bottle and spray lightly around a room for energy cleansing & protection.
* Use it to wash your hair for personal protection or healing.
* put it in a colored glass bottle and place it in a Western facing windowsill to serve as a protective/healing talisman and bring soothing Water element energy to that room. (Add some corresponding crystals or herbs to boost this energy)
* use the Thunder water to cleanse your crystals and gemstones.
* place it in a pot on the stove, add some aromatic herbs and spices, and let it simmer for natural potpourri and energy cleansing of the house.
* use it as desired for the water element / water bowl on your altar for spells and rituals (especially for healing & protection spells.)
Collecting & Charging your Thunder Water
Place a bowl, cup, or jar outside during a thunderstorm. I prefer using a mason jar because I can then store it in the same container.
* make note of the day of the week and the sign/phase of the moon when the rain storm occurs.  These associations may help you decide how you want to use your Thunder Water. If the moon sign favors healing, you may want to charge the water for healing purposes. If the moon is Waning, it may be favorable to use it for banishing negativity.
* To further empower your Thunder Water, you may wish to add a crystal or gemstone that corresponds with the purpose you intend to use it for. Opal is considered to be a stone sacred to Zeus, and the Ancient Greeks believed it had healing powers.  Tiger’s Eye is associated with Jupiter and is a protective stone. Use what you see fit.
* If it is raining, but there is no lightning & thunder, you may still wish to collect rain water and use it as Thunder Water.  There are a few ways to do this.  1) Collect Rain water on a Thursday as that is the day of week ruled by Jupiter. 2) Collect the rain water during the planetary hour of Jupiter, on any day of the week. 3) Collect rain water while the Moon or Sun are in the sign of Sagittarius, or when they are conjunct with Jupiter. 4) Since you never really know when it might rain, decorate your collecting jar with symbols of lightning, shields, eagles, or any symbol you think represents Zeus/Jupiter; and then collect the rain at any time.
* No matter when you collect the water, hold it in your hands and visualize it glowing with an electric blue light. Ask Zeus or Jupiter (Or your preferred Deity of power) to bless and charge the water, thank Them for the gift of rain and the protection or healing this water will provide.