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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

FlyLady, Pagan Style! Welcome Letter

For those of you who don’t know what FlyLady is, it’s an inspirational website designed to help you clean and de-clutter your home and your life.  It helps you create routines that work for you, your lifestyle & your family to help housekeeping become stress-free and something you just do naturally and daily rather than something you put off until the last minute and then stress about when you have company coming over.

I have found the FlyLady system to be a wonderful and positive way to get my life in order, although admittedly, I haven’t followed it as closely as I could have!  I have “fallen off the bandwagon” more than a few times!  Yet one of the great things about FlyLady is that you can jump back in at any time!  With FlyLady, I always know exactly where to start!!

Over the years, I have found ways to integrate my spirituality into my household cleaning.  Wait, did I just say that House Cleaning is Spiritual?? Yes, it can be!  I am a Pagan, more specifically an eclectic Neo-Pagan, meaning that I draw from MANY spiritual paths which focus on Nature and the natural cycles of the world we live in.  For many Pagans and Witches, our homes are the central place of our worship, our spiritual learning, our meditation, etc.  Since we don’t have Churches to go to, and we don’t limit ourselves to only experiencing nature when we are outdoors, it makes sense to think of our homes as our “Temple”, or our Sacred Place.  Many Pagans and witches also believe that their spiritual path is a Lifestyle, not just something they do once a week or on the Blessed Sabbats or the Full Moon.  I have found through FlyLady and my own spiritual path, that even the mundane, daily tasks that come with being a wife, a mother, and a housekeeper, can be beautiful parts of my daily Spiritual Life, and I wanted to share with you some ways that I have done this.

I will be going through the different aspects of FlyLady, and talking about how I apply them to my own life as a Pagan.  Today we begin with The Welcome Letter!

When you first join FlyLady you get a Welcome Letter. (and by the way, if you follow my blog, please join FlyLady or at least bookmark the FlyLady website for reference!)  This letter explains the basic idea behind the FlyLady program and how it works.  Please click the Link and read the welcome letter for yourself!!

The first thing you read is what FLY means.  It means Finally Loving Yourself!  All the great spiritual teachers of our time and times long past have taught us that without first Loving Ourselves, we cannot truly love others.  Buddha, Paramasana Yogananda, The Dalai Lama, Ghandi, Jesus, Doreen Virtue, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Sonia Choquette, Louise Hay, Starhawk… to name a few; all teach us that when we truly see ourselves as Divine Children of God/Goddess/The Universe, we begin to truly love ourselves and then the flow of love to others and from others comes more naturally!  With the basic Law of Attraction, if we Love Our self, we invite Love into our lives.  This isn’t meaning a type of love that involves vanity or a feeling of self-importance in that we are better than anyone else.  We are all children of the Divine!  But if you don’t love yourself the way you love your own children; unconditionally – then you block the flow of true Divine Love from flowing to you and through you!  Without loving yourself, you are constantly criticising yourself, seeing the negative instead of the positive.

When you FLY, you embrace the positive and develop a desire to bring more positive into your life.  When you FLY, you want to eliminate the negatives to make room for the positives.  Maybe you have too much clutter.  Maybe you keep a clean home, but neglect taking care of yourself.  Perhaps you are really good at keeping parts of your home clean and orderly, but there are certain areas that build up and become a source of stress for you.  Maybe you procrastinate and let things build up to the point where it creates stress and a burden upon yourself and your family.  When you FLY, you look around your home and you think, why I am I letting myself – a beautiful Child of The Divine – live in chaos?

FlyLady’s Welcome Letter explains that by taking one step at a time, the program will help you build daily routines and weekly plans that will help you run your household more efficiently, thus relieving yourself of stress.  If you embrace the ideal of FLYing (Finally Loving Yourself), then the desire to do this grows stronger.  Building routines takes time, and patience with yourself.  You have to work on developing new habits, slowly, piece by piece; trusting that eventually you will overcome whatever difficulties you may face.  The FlyLady program will help you develop these new habits and new routines, or build on the routines you already have in place.  It starts with the BabySteps, and onward to Daily Flightplans and weekly “Zone Missions”, all of which are described in detail on the FlyLady website but I will (hopefully) also cover here – with a Pagan Twist!

Whether you are new to FlyLady, or have been doing it for awhile, take some time today to think about how you Love Yourself.  Are you really acting in ways that show self-love?  Are you being really hard on yourself, criticizing your failures and shortcomings?  Think about your inner voice – is it Loving towards you, or mean?  Would you talk to your child the way you talk to yourself?  How is your self-love reflected in your Daily Life at home?  Are you avoiding things that stress you out?  Is this avoidance just creating more stress and more critical self-talk?  The first step to changing negative self-talk to positive self talk is to be AWARE of your self talk.  Listen to your inner voice, and when you find it being un-loving to yourself, stop and think something positive instead.  Changing your self-talk is something that will take time, and take practice, starting with Awareness and Intention!

Here is a wonderful video of affirmations that will help you increase your self-love, by Doreen Virtue. 

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!