Memory Jar – 2017

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As soon as the clock hit 3:15pm, I decided it was close enough to 4pm for me to leave work for the day. I closed my laptop, locked my desk, and said a half-hearted goodbye as the door was closing behind me. I don’t think my feet even touched the ground until I was in the elevator.

Tomorrow is my 32nd birthday and that means a lot of things to me. First it means that tomorrow will be another short day at work and that I will have a cocktail in my hand by 5 o’clock. This weekend will be more of the same. Most importantly it means that it’s time to finally break out the memory jar and read through the adventures I experienced over the past year.

A few years ago, I saw a post on Facebook that a friend shared. The post was about the practice of writing down everything amazing that happens to you and putting it in the jar. Then, each year, you read through your memories to remind yourself how fortunate you are.

This has been the best part of my birthday since I’ve adopted the practice. Here are some highlights of my jar for the past year:

 

  • 8/16 – I had a huge fight with my friend, but he still showed up and celebrated my birthday and we decided just to let the fight go.
  • 8/16 – Put a terrible situation behind me and learned some responsibility.
  • 9/1 – I was offered and accepted my dream job. (I realize that I bitch about my job a lot. It’s nice to be reminded that I am incredibly blessed to have my job.)
  • 9/9 – Went to the World Cup of Hockey game and took part in a legitimate “USA” chant.
  • 9/20 – Began my Pagan study group
  • 10/3 – Went curling for the first time with my friends Garrett and Alex (The Olympic ice sport, not weight lifting).
  • 10/4 – Forgave, blessed, and released an old friendship that was no longer serving me. (A year ago, I would never have thought about ending a friendship, no matter how bad it was for me. It’s amazing to see that I have grown.)
  • 10/6 – Hired my first employee at my new job!
  • 10/14 – Developed my first training piece for my new job (the first time I felt like could actually perform well in my new role.)
  • 2/15 – Heard my mom brag to a friend about the Valentine’s Day dinner I made her.
  • 2/27 – I threw the best shot at our curling match and won the game for our team!
  • 3/10 – Received an unexpected and substantial bonus at work!
  • 4/1 – My best friend came back from her travels through Europe and Africa.
  • 6/16 – Graduated with my Masters!
  • 7/22 – Had a significant experience that let me know that I was on the right spiritual path.
  • 8/5 – Made friends with an enemy

Tonight, I will ritually give thanks for the gifts I received in the past year. After burning the memories, I will set intentions for the year to come. Here’s a (very) short list:

  • Continue to grow spiritually and professionally
  • Spend more time with my family
  • Travel to Africa to visit my friend who’s travelling abroad
  • Commit to Feri tradition training
  • Start my spiritually-based company

Here’s to another great year!

Turn Me On

I stir my cocktail with my straw to mix the vodka and Red Bull a bit more than the bartender did. “Well the Feri creation story says that the Goddess was alone, but complete within Herself. She was floating through space when she noticed her reflection in the curve of the Universe. She fell instantly in love with Herself, made love to Herself, and Her orgasm created everything in the Universe[1]I said before taking a sip of my drink. My friend blinked hard.

“Isn’t that a little, narcissistic? I mean, She was turned on by Her reflection” he asked. I paused and shook my head,

“No, not at all. It wasn’t just Her beauty that she fell in love with. It was Her power. Her potential” I explained. As soon as the words left my lips, something clicked inside my head. It was like a mystery being revealed to me.

“Did I lose you?” my friend asked? He stared at me and slowly sipped his beer.

“Dude, I think I made a breakthrough” I blurted out excitedly.

“The Star Goddess was able to create everything we know because She loved Herself, trusted in Her potential, and gave Herself the permission to create reality. That’s the recipe for real, transformation magick!”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” he asked, this time lighting a cigarette. I sighed, but decided to continue.

“My magick works, but it doesn’t always feel organic. I think this is what I am missing. Before I work magick, I must honor myself and honor the power of potential that lives within every choice that I make, magickally or mundanely. I literally need to look at my actions, work under the guidance of my own divine authority, and be turned on by my own capabilities. That’s the path of true magick”

“Did you want another drink?” he asks, still not following. He got up before I could say anything, but that was fine with me. I leaned back in my chair and enjoyed the afterglow of my spiritual insight.

 

 

[1] This creation story was taken from The Spiral Dance by Starhawk.

Honoring my Beloved Dead – Chante

I feel like I am writing one of these posts every other week. This one hits hard.

Chante and I worked together about 5 years ago. In fact, when I became a trainer, she took over my old position in Quality Assurance. We spent most of our work hours in the office together. Rather than focusing on work, we’d talk about anything and everything. This usually meant that on Friday, we’d have tons of work to complete before we could leave, so we’d “race” each other to see who could get their work done first. The winner would always stay to help the other.

I knew Chante and I would be friends when she came into work one morning and seemed a little down. I asked her what was wrong and she gave the candid response of “Have you ever had a bowel movement that just ruined your day?” I laughed. Hard. So did she.

Chante was the most genuinely sweet person in the world. Every morning began with the greeting “Happy (insert day of the week).” I don’t think she knew how much hearing “Happy Monday” at the beginning of another work week made the struggle less real for me. When I felt overwhelmed with work or was fighting the urge to leave early, she always reminded me to “be on my grind and make that money.”

Chante was everyone’s friend and she affectionately referred to everyone as “Boo.” This wasn’t because she didn’t know their names, she knew everyone’s name (and their kids, and their hobbies, their favorite food, their birthday…).

I used to tease her that she was only sweet because she ate too much sugar. She never argued. In fact, her go-to coffee order was an iced venti caramel macchiato with 8 pumps of vanilla syrup (they usually only have three). When we made coffee runs, I loved to see the barista’s face when she ordered.

Chante is leaving behind a very young daughter, but I know she is surrounded by love. That baby girl is definitely going to hear about her amazing mama.

Today, I honor Chante. Not at my altar, but at my desk at work while I’m on my grind. I am sipping on an over-sweetened coffee and greeting everyone with an enthusiastic “Happy Friday.”

Chante, I thank you for your smile, your laughter, and your sweetness.

The world is a little bit dimmer without your light, but you shine brightly on the other side of the veil.

Blessed may you be in this world and all others, Boo.  

Soul Alignment

My alarm goes off much too early. I hit snooze a few more times than necessary. When I finally have the fortitude to get out of bed, I’m frantic. I rush to bathroom to shower, shave, brush my teeth, and dress for work. The strength of my footsteps causes the bell on my altar to brush against the tiny cauldron. Though soft, the ringing makes me pause.

“You’re running late” the Talker says to me. I nod, knowing He’s right.

C’mon, we have a little bit of time” Fetch argues. Conflicted, I pause.

It’s important, I know, but so is work” Talker reasons. I stay, firmly planted, in front of my altar.

“Look, no one gets to work before you anyway. If you are ten minutes later than normal, no one will care” Fetch counters. I smile a bit, knowing Fetch is right.

“You’re the one who wanted more sleep. This is your fault” Talker lectures.

“We wouldn’t have needed more sleep if you didn’t keep us up worrying about hiring the next round of new hires” Fetch antagonizes.

I stand, unable to move, as two parts of me bicker back and forth. Then, I hear a small whisper that breaks the silence.

“Back to your corners children” says the blue rose above me.

At once, I stand before the altar. I close my eyes and I feel the blue and red roots sprout from my feet. With my first breath, the roots break through the floor beneath me. With the second, they break through the concrete foundation of my house. The third, they are digging through the earth. The fourth, deeper now, into the semi-liquid rock of the earth. The fifth, deeper still. Finally, at breath six, my roots have reached the core of liquid metal.

I pull up the energy of the rocks through my roots. I am filled with the strength of the earth. I am grounded; supported.

Still breathing, I fill my lungs with the energy around me. Talker tells Fetch to cultivate this energy in order to bring us into alignment. Fetch listens. Fetch creates a well. I breathe and breathe until this well begins to spill over.

When I can hold no more, I drop my hands to my side and tilt my head back. I exhale, hard, sending a whirlwind of energy to the flower above me; my God Soul. The flower blooms and sends a rain of energy over me. At once, I feel Talker, Fetch, and God Soul come together in unison.

“We are three, who speak as one”[i]

[i] I learned of this practice from Betwixt and Between: Exploring the Faery Tradition of Witchcraft by Storm Faerywolf. You can find him online at http://faerywolf.com/

 

Resource – Self Sabotage to Self Love

Self improvement and self love goes hand in hand with magical practice, so I wanted to share something. I’ve mentioned my bestie Jamie in other posts and I wanted to share something she is hosting. Jamie is an amazing coach and wants to offer her services with a free webinar on overcoming self sabotage.  

Things to Expect When You Dedicate Yourself to Magickal Training

At its basic level, magick is based on the principle of cause and effect. Although most practitioners of magick understand this basic concept, some overlook the effect magickal training will have in other aspects of their lives. In my personal experience, there are several things you can expect when you begin to study magick.

  1. Relationships may change or dissolve

The goal of any magickal tradition is to help the adherent discover their true will. The practice of magick will lead the practitioner to self-possession, the state of knowing and accepting exactly who you are with the strength to follow your true will. When this happens, the relationships you have with people whose intentions may be crossed with your own, will naturally change or fall away.

The same is true for toxic relationships. Once you begin to see that the relationship is holding you back from achieving your highest good, you will be more than happy to part ways with toxic people.

The reverse is also true. You will begin to notice traits in others that resonate with your most authentic self and these relationships will flourish.

 

  1. Your emotions might be all over the place

Magickal practice, spiritual development, and psychic expansion will open up your chakras and other energy centers in ways you may not have experienced before. This may result in some mood swings at first.

For example, one moment someone may disrespect you, and the fight or flight instinct of your root chakra coupled with the communication center in your throat may cause you to defend yourself vehemently. The next moment you may happen by the final moments of  Undercover Boss where the CEO of a company gives an employee a scholarship, and you’ll burst into tears. (Hypothetically of course – Okay, yeah this happened me).

To counteract this, try chakra balancing techniques and breathing through any knee-jerk emotional reactions.

  1. Your intuition will be on point 

The more you practice magick, the better your sense of intuition will become. That small voice inside your head gets a bit louder, and that gut feeling gets a bit stronger. There have been times since I’ve rededicated myself to spiritual practice that I’ve wanted to consult my Tarot cards or doing some scrying, but found that my inner voice would lead me down the right path.

This can be a double-edged sword though. For me, my intuition has become a precise bullshit detector. Any time someone lies to me or omits information, I get a little tap on my psychic shoulder. Sometimes it has led to me getting into an argument with a friend, but overall it has allowed me to open the door to and long overdue conversation with a loved one.

  1. Your magickal proficiency will increase

You know what they say, practice makes perfect. The same goes for magick. As cited by my few “No Frills-Magick” posts, I’ve lost the need to full blown magickal practice. In fact, I have found that when I step to my altar for ritual, I can ground and center, cast a circle, and align my energies with a few breaths, rather than with the intense visualization, words of power, or ritual actions.

You may experience times in which the very act of planning a magickal working will be enough to manifest your goal.

  1. You’ll experience a mind-body-spirit alignment

The more time you dedicate to spirituality, the lines between your different parts will blur. You’ll start to understand how your mind and body are as magickal as your spirit.

For me, this manifested in a few ways. First, I’ve become more regimented in taking care of my body. I’ve been better about eating clean food, spending more time being active, and have started the process to quit smoking. In regards to strengthening my mind, I’ve started spending more time painting and reading than I have in the past.

By honoring all parts of my being, I am becoming more connected with life as a whole.

  1. Those in need will seek you out

I believe that as you grow spiritually, you become a beacon. People will recognize your connectedness and come to you for help. These may be people you know or even complete strangers. They may need advice or simply need someone to listen. The important thing here is to listen to your intuition and allow yourself to be open to their needs.

  1. You’ll require more alone time

Until recently, I’ve needed to be surrounded by people constantly. There were times I would go out every night. Sometimes, I’d even invite friends out to the bar, but not really talk to them. I just needed someone there.

Alone time has become a huge priority for me. I attribute this to self-discovery that comes with magickal practice. The more time you spend growing spiritually, the more you understand yourself. This understanding ultimately leads to you enjoying your own company. This alone time lets you recharge and take care of yourself. It reminds me of an old Wiccan adage I read (I think in Marion Weinstein’s Earth Magick), “You cannot draw from an empty well.”

  1. Your priorities will change

 

This is related to #7. As you get closer to understanding your true will, you will start to prioritize things differently. You’ll begin to see what’s truly important and arrange your life around these things.

For me, this presented itself as a need to say no to things that I hated. It seems simple enough, but I felt that there were things that I had to do. By looking at what I really wanted from life, I could see that some of these things could be easily overlooked. For example, if a friend is having a party, I don’t feel obligated to go. If I’d rather stay home and veg out on the couch, I simply say no. No guilt. No regrets. Just focusing on what I need and want to do.

  1. You might experience a dark night of the soul

A great philosopher (okay, a video game Kingdom Hearts) once said: “the closer you get to the light, the bigger your shadow becomes.” This is totally true. When you look at your life through the lens of spiritual development, you shine the proverbial light on the things you usually hide from everyone (yourself included).

Once these things come to light, you might experience some hardships. You may even feel disconnected from your deities. This is normal. Keep the faith and keep up with your daily practice. The purpose of spiritual practice is to become a more complete person, and these hardships are part of that process.

  1. You will understand that this is just the first step of your journey

Spiritual development and magickal practice are  lifelong commitments. When you begin your practice, you want to learn it all at once. You want to become Dumbledore, but that’s not how it works. You have to start slow and build upon your practice slowly. In fact, you might get far along your path, but realize that the path doesn’t suit you. Even if you start and restart several times throughout your life, you will get closer to your destination each time.

Remember, it’s okay to be Ron Weasley.

No-Frills Magick – Banishing

Since my last post was super sad, I thought I’d go back to the No Frills Magick topic. This one has more “frills” than the previous post, but not by much.

I previously posted about the Kala rite as a way to remove a self-inflicted barrier. This spell is something that can be done to remove either a self-inflicted or outside influence, although I tend to use it for the latter.

First, identify what influence you want to remove. Then create a symbol for this influence. You may choose to create a sigil. To do this, write out the influence you want to remove in as much detail as possible. Then remove any repeating letters. Next, remove the vowels. Finally, take the remaining letters and arrange them into a witchy-looking symbol.

Next, ground and center. When you feel connected to the Universe/Deity/Higher Self/Whatever, take a deep breath. Using a skin-safe marker or pen, draw the symbol on the bottom of your foot. Then, go about your day.

As you continue through your mundane life, your subconscious will know that you are literally walking on the issue. By keeping the issue “under foot,” you will lessen its influence.

Repeat as needed.