Sunday, October 25, 2009

Frustrating move....

I am having some serious issues with logging into this blog so I can update and add material... to solve the issue I had to create a WHOLE NEW account.

Please follow the link below to this new blog. I will try to move everything over as soon as possible.

Here is a link to my new blog site instead of this site. Leandra Draconis Witchwood


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Blessed Samhain

Blessed Samhain

As the darkness draws near, I feel the turn in the cycle of the year.

Samhain is not far away, stronger it becomes everyday.

Souls are now free to speak.

Like fire, heir voices are not weak.

Listen closely as they speak to you.

Telling you everything, you already knew.

They will not give you a wicked sneer.

Know that you have no need to fear.

The time is come to know the power within.

Enter the veil. I am ready to begin!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Experience of Spiritual Transformation

We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart... and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together....
I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude.
~Helen Hayes

To become spiritual begins we must experience stages of transformation. Some of these experiences are short and fast while others seem to take forever. More often than not, spiritual transformations are painful and difficult. Nevertheless, these stages are necessary for achieving our ultimate goal in becoming spiritual beings on this plain and the next.

My most recent transformation began about two years ago no where near an end! I do admit some days change is hard to bear and I wish it would hurry the heck up, but then there are days when it all makes perfect sense and I don’t mind the lag.

It all started with a standard Medicine card reading. The intent is to focus my efforts in the right direction for the day or week depending on the situation and project. I could feel myself becoming unbalanced and disoriented on my path and felt a strong need for some clarity.

I know many of us who specialize in divination do this kind reading for others and ourselves all the time. Usually they are basic, the person in question draws a couple of helpful cards, and we are on our way. I honestly thought that this would be one of those simple readings. As the universe would reveal, I was very wrong.

I remember it clearly; I was sitting at my usual spot in the park over looking the Susquehanna River during my lunch hour, when I pulled a very distinct arrangement of cards. The spread I was doing was intended to show me how to achieve balance through Father Sun and Mother Earth (above and below). The shock came to me as I revealed my cards. Instead of balance, they spoke specifically of change, and chaos.

First, I pulled Dragon Fly. On the surface Dragon Fly teaches us about Illusion. The story of Dragon Fly talks about how he was once a very powerful Dragon who was tricked by Coyote into the form we know today. When we look at Dragon Fly, we see the Magick bottle up within Dragon Fly through the iridescent shimmer of Dragon Fly’s wings.

Knowing this we also consider Dragon Fly to be a symbol of locked up potential. When we see Dragon Fly in a spread, it tends to mean that the person in question is not living up to his/her true greatness/potential. This blockage is usually evident through some sort of illusion the person places in his/her life.

Dragon Fly is also a symbol for change over time. It takes about 2 years for many Species of Dragon Fly to transform from an egg to an adult Dragon Fly. Therefore, as a reader I recognize that Dragon Fly is telling me that I will be entering into a 2 year transformation. Dragon Fly is also one of the few creatures equally associated with Air and Water.

For me, this card fell in the Mother Earth position. This position teaches us to receive the goodness Mother Earth has to offer through time and patience. This energy is of the Female trinity; Maiden, Mother, and Crone. This ever-changing female energy opens us up to creativity and psychic pathways.

Therefore, from the start of this reading I am told that slow change is coming two fold. I am also told that all seeds require time to germinate and need nurturing before they can grow into their true potential, again two fold.

The next card I pulled is for the Father Sky position. This is of Male energy and Warrior Energy. In this position, we are taught lessons of how to heal, how to move forward, and how to look at things in the material world. This energy is faster and plays a distinct contrast to female energy, which is slower and less analytical.

As I turned my second card to face me, I was dumfounded to see Frog. I was not sure what to make of this spread. I even looked up at my favorite tree for some clarity, but only found the words “accept it” instead. I thought to myself, “Did I not shuffle properly? There is no way both of these cards could end up next to each other in this spread. However, there they were, and their message was clear.

If you have not guessed, Frog is another symbol for transformation. Frog’s association is with Earth and Water, which is only one of its many links to Dragon Fly. Like Dragon Fly frogs goes through a transformation, but only faster.

I sat back and knew that I needed to expect some serious changes. I knew that at least the next two years would be hard. Change is not always easy and lets face it we humans are not very welcoming of change, especially when the change promises to be BIG! Nevertheless, I was glad to have the warning.

I have moved past the two-year mark of this foretold transformation. I look back and see that so many things have happened. I was laid off from my high paying desk job, began working in the theater as a seamstress, started a business, ended the business, had a baby, developed some really great friendships, and then lost them.

So now, I am here… Where exactly is “here”? I am not sure yet. I know the journey is not over and there are more big changes coming. What I do know is that I have transformed.

What mattered to me before seems superficial. Having a high paying desk job that allows me to buy the latest and greatest is no longer a priority. Instead, I am happy working a low pay job that allows me to be with my family.

Instead of having, a bunch of friendships that are shallow and dare I say it… fake. I now focus on friendships that are meaningful, fulfilling, and pure.

I have to admit that through out these past couple of years I have taken some hard hits, so much that I have almost completely moved myself from my local Pagan Community. I have even shed myself of most Pagan friendships. Through it all, I experienced some severe depression, anxiety, and remorse over the people and things I lost.

Often I found myself alone to wallow in my self-pity, but it is through this solitude I found my strength and myself. Although this journey has been tough, I am walking forward with so much more than I had before. I have learned to listen to my inner voice more closely, which has drastically improved my empathic abilities. I am now more skilled in reading my Medicine cards, especially for others. I am spending more time worrying about the Earth and my family, rather than worrying about being included in the next big ritual or concert. I have discovered the true character of those who do a very good job of pretending. More importantly, I have discovered my own true character, which surprisingly enough has not changed much. Instead, I have raised my standards.

I am spending more time teaching true seekers who want to learn and grow. I have shed the need to look “good” in the eyes of others and I am now starting to look good to myself. I focus less on the superficial and more on the bigger picture.

Now, I find solitude valuable. I am no longer afraid to be within myself as I find peace and enlightenment.

As much as change stresses us out, it is necessary. If I learn nothing from all I have gained and lost, I at least know that I have not yet reached my full potential and that I have the opportunity to keep going. When I was in the deepest darkest depression morning all I had lost, one thing pulled me through; I always have the opportunity to stand up and move forward.

Through pain, we know happiness and through self-discovery, we evolve. When faced with losing it all we have a choice to make. Do we deviate and weaken on our spiritual path or do we rise above to become our true potential?

In every event and through every trial we have a choice. Everyday, we are empowered to make that choice.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Roots of the Heart

Roots run deep

Like those of the heart

Like those of heartache

The smallest connection can have the greatest impact

As the ripples of life touch us, we forget to feel these connections

As the ripples of emotion move us, we block out their subtle message of peace and compassion

As the ripples of heartache affect us, we forget the messages of compassion and peace.

We erect the walls around our souls, becoming unable to receive the messages of the Divine.

We all seek peace.

May it be soon that we all find it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Punished for being Me

Early morning wakes me with tears...

The chatter continues. I hear their voices from the distance.

Their concerns are not for me. Their compassion wanes.

They wake me frequently with their thoughts and words. I see the trees that surround them and ask for help.

The trees smile but can do nothing, for their chatter drowns their plea.

The one thing we are told to be. I am punished for being me.

No matter how kind I can be, I am punished for being me.

By: Leandra Witchwood
First published 11-5-08

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I again realize how we forget the value of and how precious people are in our lives.

The relationships we forge go on even after we do not.

I pray for love and peace for all who have touched my life. I pray for resolution in those relationship that have become damaged.

I pray for hope and clarity for you today!

“May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy.” -Author unknown

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

12 signs of awakening spirituality

12 signs of awakening spirituality

1. Body aches and pains, especially in the neck, shoulder and back. This is the result of intense changes at your DNA level as the "Christ seed" awakens within. This too shall pass.
2. Feeling of deep inner sadness for no apparent reason. You are releasing your past (this lifetime and others) and this causes the feeling of sadness. This is similar to the experience of moving from a house where you lived in for many, many years into a new house. As much as you want to move into the new house, there is a sadness of leaving behind the memories, energy and experiences of the old house. This too shall pass.
3. Crying for no apparent reason. Similar to 2 above. It's good and healthy to let the tears flow. It helps to release the old energy within. This too shall pass.
4. Sudden change in job or career. A very common symptom. As you change, things around you will change as well. Don't worry about finding the "perfect" job or career right now. This too shall pass. You're in transition, and you may make several job changes before you settle into one that fits your passion.
5. Withdrawal from family relationships. You are connected to your biological family via old karma. When you get off the karmic cycle, the bonds of the old relationships are released. It will appear as though you are drifting away from your family and friends. This too shall pass. After a period of time, you may develop a new relationship with them if it is appropriate. However, the relationship will be based in the new energy without the karmic attachments.
6. Unusual sleep patterns. It's likely that you'll awaken many nights between 2:00–4:00 a.m. There's a lot of work going on within you, and it often causes you to wake up for a "breather." Not to worry. If you can't go back to sleep, get up and do something rather than lay in bed and worry about humanly things. This too shall pass.
7. Intense dreams. These might include war and battle dreams, chase dreams or monster dreams. You are literally releasing the old energy within, and these energies of the past are often symbolized as wars, running to escape and boogey-man. This too shall pass.
8. Physical disorientation. At times you'll feel very ungrounded. You'll be "spatially challenged" with the feeling like you can't put two feet on the ground or that you're walking between two worlds. As your consciousness transitions into the new energy, you body sometimes lags behind. Spend more time in nature to help ground the new energy within. This too shall pass.
9. Increased "self talk." You'll find yourself talking to your Self more often. You'll suddenly realize you've been chattering away with yourself for the past 30 minutes. There is a new level of communication taking place within your being, and you're experiencing the tip of the iceberg with the self talk. The conversations will increase, and they will become more fluid, more coherent and more insightful. You're not going crazy, you're just Shaumbra moving into the new energy.
10. Feelings of loneliness, even when in the company of others. You may feel alone and removed from others. You may feel the desire to "flee" groups and crowds. As Shaumbra, you are walking a sacred and lonely path. As much as the feelings of loneliness cause you anxiety, it is difficult to relate to others at this time. The feelings of loneliness are also associated with the fact that your Guides have departed. They have been with you on all of your journeys in all of your lifetimes. It was time for them to back away so you could fill your space with your own divinity. This too shall pass. The void within will be filled with the love and energy of your own Christ consciousness.
11. Loss of passion. You may feel totally dis-impassioned, with little or no desire to do anything. That's okay, and it's just part of the process. Take this time to "do no-thing." Don't fight yourself on this, because this too shall pass. It's similar to rebooting a computer. You need to shut down for a brief period of time in order to load the sophisticated new software, or in this case, the new Christ-seed energy.
12. A deep longing to go Home. This is perhaps the most difficult and challenging of any of the conditions. You may experience a deep and overwhelming desire to leave the planet and return to Home. This is not a "suicidal" feeling. It is not based in anger or frustration. You don't want to make a big deal of it or cause drama for yourself or other. There is a quiet part of you that wants to go Home. The root cause for this is quite simple. You have completed your karmic cycles. You have completed your contract for this lifetime. You are ready to begin a new lifetime while still in this physical body. During this transition process, you have inner remembrances of what it is like to be on the other side. Are you ready to enlist for another tour of duty here on Earth? Are you ready to take on the challenges of moving into the New Energy? Yes, indeed, you could go Home right now. But you've come this far, and after many, many lifetimes it would be a shame to leave before the end of the movie. Besides, Spirit needs you here to help others transition into the new energy. They will need a human guide, just like you, who has taken the journey from the old energy into the new. The path you're walking right now provides the experiences to enable you to become a Teacher of the New Divine Human. As lonely and dark as your journey can be at times, remember that you are never alone.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Missing: Teachers and Elders, A Concern in the Pagan Community

Author: Leandra Witchwood

When we seek out to discover something new, expand our current understanding of a topic, and become spiritually competent, it is a good idea to seek out a Teacher. Teachers and Elders are a necessary guide in spiritual transformations and enlightenment as they help guide us and support us. Although not all Elders are Teachers both are important as their years of experience help guide us and enlighten us on our long journey.

I have studied Wicca and Witchcraft under some very wonderful Elders and Teachers. I have studied various traditions from Reclaiming, to a form of Gardnerian, to simply reading material by my favorite authors. In the mix of these great teachers, I have also had some bad ones. Never the less, they all taught me something valuable and for that I am grateful.

It is through the teachings, support, and challenges my Teachers placed before me that allowed me to grow. I moved from being a curious student to a leader, counselor, Priestess, and on occasion a Teacher. Without their words of wisdom, advice, and knowledge, I would have had no good examples to base my own practices. The fundamental responsibility of a Teacher/Elder is to guide us, challenge us, and allow us to grow into our own. It is with good example and support students ar able to continue the legacy of spirituality.

In the past several years, I have noticed a disturbing trend within my own Pagan community. Compared to the other communities I have lived in and interacted with, Pagan/Wiccan Elders and Teachers are less than valued. Certainly not every person contributes, but the ill attitude is very evident. Perhaps, you have noticed this same trend in your community.

Quality Teachers and Elders are a unique breed of person. The really great Teachers are hard to come by because they have walked the walk for many years. Good Teachers are good because they have suffered the trials of spiritual growth and know their techniques, history, etc. As they offer up their knowledge and wisdom, they sacrifice their selves in hopes of continuing a spiritual legacy. They take time away from friends, family, work, home, and their own spirituality to offer to us something wonderful.

Quality Teachers and Elders are here to show us a way of achieving the things we desire and need through hard work and discipline. They are not here to hand us the answers. Instead, they are here to show us how to get the answers, then it is up to us to find the strength to hold on to these answers. Sometimes this requires us to realized and deal with something that is complex or upsetting. Quality Teachers and Elders challenge us to take that extra step and remove ourselves from our own suffocating bubble. Being uncomfortable is key to shedding our old skin so we can grow.

I like to associate learning a difficult Craft, Technique, and/or Tradition with my experience in learning mediation. When I was learning to meditate my teacher taught me about Shenpa. Roughly translated Shenpa means “Hooked” or even “what hooks you” to a certain reaction, feeling, moment, etc. Shenpa is what distracts you and prevents you from staying in the moment. Shenpa is difficult to describe because it is beyond description.

To grasp meditation and to get an understanding of my own Shenpa, I was instructed to allow my feelings, no matter how unpleasant to bubble up. Then I was asked to do something difficult, stay with these feelings. When I felt anxious or scared, I had to stay with it. I had to experience everything that comes along with it. I would allow the tension in my shoulders to come and feel the tension. When the sensation of something terrible is happening I had to stay in the moment and feel it. I had to allow myself to feel the perspiration of my body. I listened to the words coming to thought. I had to let it come so I could experience it all.

The process was incredibly difficult and on many days unbearable. Experiencing the panic and discomfort was the only way I could move forward. When I allowed my self to surrender to the moment realized something interesting was happening, the anxiety and fear dissolved. I was able to gain control of myself. When I accepted my discomfort instead of resisting, I was able to release my Shenpa. I became like the branches of a tree, I would sway in the wind instead of breaking. The feelings were able to flow through me instead of slam into me. This end result is what my teacher intended me to achieve. I could not achieved this ability if I chose to give up on the Teacher and the lesson. Worst of all if I had given up I would have given up on myself.

Teachers and Elders come to us in many ways. They write books with snippets of knowledge for us to consider. They offer classes on-line, in their homes, at gatherings, or in community centers, and more. So with so many ways to share knowledge and teach where have our quality Elders and Teachers gone? What made them disappear?

Over the past few years I witness what communities do to Teachers and Elders. We become too critical too often, we eat up their time, we complain about their fees, give up on their lessons when they become hard, we take these unique people for granted, and more! I even witness people discrediting Teachers and Elders before they give the individual a chance to teach. In some of the worst cases, we place mediocre Elders and Teachers on pedestals; we become their “groupies” as we lower our standards.

I know… I know… Not you…You would never treat an Elder or a Teacher with disrespect or over indulgence. Yeah, I thought the same about myself a while back. We do these things without realizing sometimes. Our actions or even non-actions become damaging, as we remain blind to our habits. After all, habits are best repeated when ignored.

Over the years, I notice that students give up and dish out the most disapproval toward Teachers and Elders when the lessons become tough. Learning the most valuable lessons is never easy, but always necessary. When we expect our teachers to just hand us the answers we are missing the point.

Would we want our grade school teachers to just give our kids the answers to an important test, especially if this test was significant to benefiting their future? Of course not, this would make most people very angry. We want to know that our kids know their stuff! We would see this type of education as a waste of money. We would recognize it as wasted time in the classroom and most of all we would see this as damage to the learning and growth process. The same goes for spiritual teachings. Why should we expect that our spiritual Teachers give us an easy road to follow? We must surrender to the lessons without making the lesson more difficult by putting up a wall of resistance.

Spiritual Elders and Teachers are here to challenge us. They are here to give us the key and it is up to us to open the door of spiritual growth. They are here to support us as we brush away the cobwebs and sweep out the dusty recesses of our hearts and minds. When we resist their lessons and when we expect the answers to come easily, we hinder our growth while masking the source of our being stuck. Witnessing a student give up on his/her self is one of the most frustrating things a Teacher can experience. After this happens, there is nothing the Teacher can do for the student.

My best teacher was a very hard teacher. She told you like it was and her lessons were difficult. She was a wealth of knowledge and a great asset to the community. She had guts, charisma, and wasn’t afraid to do what was necessary. Her best asset was also her flaw. She rubbed people the wrong way or rather people took her the wrong way.

Her no nonsense approach made people very uneasy and eventually she was forced to leave the community. She felt unwanted and betrayed by the people she sought to up lift. To this day her legacy is in full force but those who currently manage it have removed her from it. The solid base she gave the community remains, but she is forgotten. In looking back I am glad to have helped her achieve this mile stone in the community. However, I feel the pain and betrayal she was handed. The community wanted her ideas but not her standards. They were willing to ride the momentum of her drive, but unwilling to know and accept her. Ironically, this very community boasts about tolerance and acceptance. It is interesting to see how things like this work out.

Like many of our most valuable Teachers, she has taken all her years of knowledge and wisdom with her in retreat. The community used her up and discarded her with no remorse. Although it was sometimes hard, I stuck by her. I felt a certain compassion and empathy for her. Like I said, she is blunt! She never candy coated what you needed to do, nor did she hand out respect eagerly; You have to earn it. Perhaps there was something deep within me telling me that her difficult style would set me on the track to becoming balanced and knowledgeable.

It is not easy to learn things about yourself when you are not ready or willing to admit them, much less change them. I found I distanced myself from her on a number of occasions. Each time I came back I grew spiritually and personally. I chose to know her rather than give up. In doing this I did not giving up on myself. I am a different person now than I was 8 years ago. I owe a lot of my growth to her lessons and stern personality. I am now able to see her true quality and appreciate her. I understand her trials and her wisdom. I understand why she does certain things a certain way. I know she is never mean or cruel. Instead, she has the biggest heart of anyone I know. It is because of her heart and desire to help that she once opened herself up for others to benefit. To me she is exactly what any community needs. Sadly, she is gone from it and the community must go without. Those who now need her will not have her.

When you decide that you want to learn something and when you find a teacher who is willing to teach you, understand that it is not all about you. Remember, “It’s a two way street”. You can’t expect to automatically move forward without fully engaging the lessons of your Teacher. Your Teacher must become part of your journey. You must work to gain their respect and confidence. You need to humble yourself to their lessons. You have to earn your achievements. You have to work toward your goal for it should never be handed to you. Savor each moment and lesson. Do your very best even when the lesson is tedious or difficult. Cherish your Teachers and Elders, but don’t put them on pedestals. Listen to your Teachers and Elders, respect their time, and most of all give back to them what you take.

If your Teacher is teaching you free of charge, do something for them after each lesson that shows you care. Mow their lawn, wash their dishes, organize their library, replenish their supplies, or make them a great meal.

If the teacher you are using charges for the lessons, give your money graciously. Know that the money you pay is not only for their time and for effort but it is also going toward supplies, the facility, maintenance of the space, and so on. Whether you admit it or not, it takes a great deal of time, resource, experience, and effort to create a well thought out and educational class.

Most of all refrain from being too critical of your Teachers and Elders. Yes, they are human and yes they will make mistakes, but be an adult about it. If you need to address something, address it. Don’t make up stories in your head about the situation or dramatize it. Don’t make them out to be an aggressor and you the victim. Talk to them in a non-confrontational manner, one adult to another. Be accountable for your actions and reactions, as you would expect your teacher to be toward you.

Showing our respect and appreciation for our Elders and Teachers is most important. If you noticed that a teacher in your community seems to have dropped off the face of the planet, look them up. Send him/her a message of warmth and respect. Drop a plant off at their front door with a simple note or ask them to teach you something. Let them know you remember them and you consider them an asset to the community.

If we fail to show our appreciation and respect, we lose our best teachers. Without our Elders and Teachers, we limit ourselves in resources and perspective. The world would be a dreary place if we could only see in black and white.

**View this article on WitchVox,
Published May 31, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ugly Voices

Ugly voices speak words of hate and jealousy,

Vile and corrupt as the dishonesty grows,

The spiritual essences of many has faded as blinders swathe their eyes

Their ears listen to the words filled with lies and hate

Blocking out the subtle glow of truth,

With obtuse scenarios they agree upon circumstances they know nothing about

Repulsive and jealous the dishonesty seeps into their corrupt union.

The mask is solid with greed and ignorance,

The truth obscured by illusions of sorrow and pain

One another, stroking their Ego.

Soon the truth will shine as they turn on each other

Conspiracies shall reveal to ill journey taken.

Deception will turn on them like a wild dog on its prey, ripping and tearing until only truth remains

The wise will watch

The wise will listen

The wise will wait

The wise will find comfort in true companions away from this fabrication and misery

The wise will use compassion to reach their darken sight

The wise will forgive those who stray from wisdom and truth

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I am a Warrior

I am open

I am seeking

Light come to me

As I sleep

As I walk the plane of mist and visions.

Light visions let me see with my willing heart.

From darkness I emerge into another life

Surrounded by the veil covered by my tears

Light break through the darkness

I am a warrior of peace

I am a warrior of light

I am a warrior who moves beyond time

Come to me from your inner womb

Let me sooth you away from doom

Come to the brilliance and away from despair

Come to me your soul I shall prepare

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Ever Changing Road

I have realized more and more that I am moving, growing, and changing. I have become more defined in my spiritual practices and my calling is becoming more obscure while moving into focus.

I have long sought to learn and understand the more intensive ideals of subjects that usually make me zone out and feel stupid. Now I read about these subjects and understand them. I talk with others and comprehend complicated terminologies and ideals. Even more so I am excited about the information, theories, and ideals contained. I still use my "old" and traditional tools, resources, and theories, but now they are made stronger by my increasing ability to understand. What I once thought to be true for me, is. What I once theorized, is more real than I could previously imagine.

On this long road, I have many things to work on… One being my compassion for others. I tend to look at the facts of situations and the things people do to their selves instead of the humanity of their situation. I look at truth and fact more than I look at emotion and empathy. It is a protective wall I have created for myself. I have tendency to give too much to others when I open up, which leads to complete exhaustion, burn out, resentment, pain, etc.

It is important to have support. Interacting with others allows you to learn from their strengths and weaknesses. Character is a big deal so pay attention to the character of those you choose to surround you. Many wear disguises of friendship and compassion, but when things get complicated they will leave you alone to fend for yourself.

When someone says they love you and support you, their actions should reflect this message. I have spent plenty of time with those who run as soon as things get a little heated. It is refreshing to have a people surround you who have their own opinions and are not afraid to express these opinions. A different point of view is often inspiring and motivating.

This has helped me move and evolve further in my spiritual and mundane journey. Spiritually more complex ideals make sense. The trivial ideal falls away from me. I feel out of place in the greater mundane world, but I am okay with it. TV shows I used to enjoy are now boring. Mainstream music is shallow. Gossip is uninteresting. Old friendships are shadows of their former selves.

I find that I am more comfortable with elders, people who know their stuff and have moved beyond the need to boast about it. The quiet sages. The silent teachers. The old souls with young faces. The people who are not out to gain fame, social status, or approval... but those who are true seers, teachers, and companions.

My opinions are not the same as they were a year ago. Things make sense now compared to then. Relationships, words, feelings, perceptions.... They are all different now. I have changed.

There is a part of me that resists. This part of me wants things to never change. It tells me to be afraid. When I ignore this fear-filled voice, I find that I am better off. The journey is not always easy but the experience and euphoria that comes form it is wonderful.

I can do more. I see more. I feel more. I am more.
So… What is next? I am ready!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

OGM! She’s a FAT Priestess!!!

The sun was low in the sky as we gathered around the fire circle. Many of us were strangers but we came together in the woods to celebrate Mabon as a community. The circle was already laid out and lit with large candles glowing in the dim light of sunset. Each quarter had its own altar. North was decorated in brown, East in pink, South in red, and West in blue. The center altar was large with black white and red cloth draping down onto the grass. A large multi-tiered candle holder was center and lit with several white candles On either side sat statues of the God and Goddess nestled in several colorful flowers. The ground in front of the altar was heavily decorated with loaves of bread, flowers, and branches.

We were lead into a semi-circle around the fire by one of the apprentices. We had not yet seen the priestess so far everything was being run by her apprentices. As the chanting began and became harmonious, we heard a stunning voice come from the eastern side of the circle. She sang in harmony with our chant. We chanted, “Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali…” She accompanied us with powerful and beautiful voice singing, “Sacred Mother I hear you calling, Sacred Mother I hear your song...”

The power of this song and chant was amazing. I was blown away! It was creative, powerful, and magnificent. As the Priestess entered the circle, the apprentices slowed the chanting until it there was silence. As the Apprentices and Priestess went to the altar to begin the next stage of the ritual, I over heard the person standing next to me say, “OMG! She’s fat! OH MY GOD!.”

My jaw dropped! One, I could not believe I just heard what I heard. Secondly, I thought she was gorgeous. She wore a flowing blue gown with a black corset. I did not see her has being fat at all. She was not skinny, but she was in no way appalling or deserving of that comment. It became obvious to me that the people in that ritual were expecting her to be thin because she was experienced and knowledgeable. In their minds, people who have creditability are those with a thin figure.

Sadly, we seem to live in a nation where our size dictates how people react to us and our abilities. Sure, our nation has a serious obesity epidemic, but I think our perceptions of this issue are jaded. We are a nation that sends mixed message to one another. At the grocery store, we are bombarded with advertisements for packaged processed junk that fits nicely into a tight budget. Then, at the check out counter, we see ads and magazine articles telling us how to lose 20lbs in 10 days!

I honestly believe that the way we view one another and ourselves seriously affects our ability to be spiritual people and proficient in Magickal arts. If we are hung up on looks rather than talent, knowledge, and experience, we are missing the big picture. When we think someone’s abilities is contingent on their pant size we have some serious issues to over come.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I completely believe that to become a spiritual person you MUST take care of yourself. I also believe that taking care of yourself means you need to exercise, eat whole foods, drink alcohol moderately, no smoking, and keep a positive image about yourself.

Over the years, I have become mildly obsessed with nutrition and exercise. If you want to know the nutritional value of a food, I probably know it. I go to the gym at least 3 times a week and when I am not at the gym I get plenty of exercise walking the dog, working in my yard, hiking, and running after my two kids. My husband will be the first to say that I have trouble sitting still. He is surprised I do it long enough to nurse our son.

As I sit here at this moment writing this article, I am eating a spinach salad with carrots, tomatoes, red onion, and light dressing. This morning, I went to the gym and did my routine with my trainer for an hour and a half. Later I plan on digging up a large pant bed in my yard. According to my life style and doctor, I am very healthy. BUT! According to the media and medical community, I am not!

What I hear most about are the potential risks. The potential risks are not real if you do what you can to prevent them. With all the attention obesity and the potential risks receive in the media it seems that every single over weigh or obese person should be falling over dead at any moment. If the potential risk were really that acute we would be stepping over bodies as we walk down the street.

According to the medical community and media I should be falling down gasping for air and suffering a heart attack right now! Instead, I am eager to dig up deeply rooted plants in my garden after spending my morning at the gym. Something somewhere is a miss.

The fact is the Media is very good at using scare tactics to get our attention. If they didn’t use shocking tactics they would not stand out to catch our attention. The issue with these tactics is that it colors how we see people. This coloring dehumanizes our neighbors and dulls our view of what is acceptable and kind. Something that is not really that bad is made to seem like it is unbearably horrible, and we are encouraged to form a negative perception of the issue or person.

The reason people don’t get out there and live life if because they are scared of what consequences are before them. Years ago I was afraid to lead public ritual because I over heard what was said about the priestess. It was horrible and demeaning. Therefore, I began living in ways that might avoid encounters subject to un-necessary ridicule. No one needs the obvious pointed out at them. It was not until I got out and lead my first public ritual did I realize it wasn’t about me being inadequate.

I discovered that I am a good leader despite my weight and size. My abilities and knowledge have nothing to do with my size and weight. I know I am experienced and competent. In the face of potential ridicule and false judgments, I found that my inner power is my own. My inner power does not come from the people standing the circle with me. It does not come from my dress size or weight. My inner power comes from how I see myself. My inner power comes from the knowledge I have and the grace I give myself.

Over the years I have learned to love who I am, eat healthfully, and exercise daily. I have learned that these things make me healthy and confident. When I feel healthy and confident my Magick and spirituality are a flame to behold.

It is time to live each day as though it were your last. Get up and move. Get up and dance. Get up and enjoy the sunshine. Go outside and lay in the shade of a beautiful tree. Bring a picnic and enjoy the day, everyday!

My inspiration for this article came from Joy Nash. She is openly 224lbs and a size 18! She is speaking out for all of us who struggle with the “You must be thin” stigma we encounter everyday. Her videos are available on and they are very entertaining.

If you take nothing away from this article, please remember this: Many obese and over weigh people are very active and very health. Many obese people are not firmly planted on the couch stuffing their faces with junk. They are beautiful and deserving of respect and dignity.

One should never judge someone’s abilities by the size of their clothing. Spirituality and Magick don’t come in specific pant or dress sizes, they are all sizes to fit all.

Finally, it is not your weight that prevents you from doing what you want and enjoying life, it is your attitude.


Leandra Witchwood

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I Heard A Voice

When will sleep awaken me?

As listen to the pounding of my heart, I hear a voice.

She is calling to me faint and distant. I struggle to hear, Her words are not clear.

Swallowed by a dark pool in my soul the White Lady fights to break free.

Darkness looms as her white skin is lost and her hair covers her face.

The unseen force pushes her lower until she is consumed.

Strength is lost and bounty is drowned. Light is snuffed and hope goes missing.

When will the struggle make me strong? When will darkness release its bonds.

The dark pool rushes to my eyes and am broken in more places. Healing is but a dream, daggling in front of my eyes, always out of reach.

It has to get better. The light must shine again. Things have to cycle back to balance and happiness.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Finding Our Self Esteem and Getting Unstuck on This Path

by Leandra Witchwood

I grew up in a household where my extra efforts where sometimes scoffed at and ridiculed. Growing up this way I naturally believed that my extra efforts were silly and pointless. Even now after years of soul searching, meditation, and empowering myself; I still struggle with my less than healthy self-esteem. I now realize that it was my family’s insecurities mix with my own ability to hang on to the past that helped make me insecure.

I did not appreciate how common this issue is until I took a good look at our American culture. It happened while I was taking my most recent class on progressing in meditation. The instructor commented on how our American mind-set differs from the Tibetan mind-set. She revealed to me how our culture is based on “Your best is not good enough”, instead of “You did your best and that is good. Try it again tomorrow and you will do better.”

I immediately found this enlightening and empowering. It helped me remember that our mindset is not the only mindset available. It was freeing to know that I have the option to change. We don’t always contemplate the messages we receive from family, media, friends, and community. Unfortunately, these messages seep deeply into our psyche doing damage that is tough to mend. Over the past several weeks, I have been contemplating this reality and how one can conquer this subtle oppression.

Someone once told me this, “We are who we think, others think, we think, we are.” Some wisdoms are not always easy to grasp or express and this one defiantly has a “Whoa!” factor. To put it most simply, if we believe in ourselves and express our own inner strengths, others will pick up on this and it will become who we are to them. In turn they will treat is as confident and capable people thus encouraging our own confidence.

Read more at the Magickal Buffet

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

.... Then We Are Corrupt.

If you believe that others must be convinced that your ideals and beliefs are the only truth to behold, then WE are corrupt.

If you believe that other must be neglected, ignored, punished, hurt, killed, or brutalized in any way because they do not live as you do, work as you do, and live in the same culture as you to, then WE are corrupt.

If you feel that others who are not like you are weird, inapproachable, unfriendly, and should be excluded from your sight, activities, neighborhood, and community, then WE are corrupt.

If you feel that it is your nation's or communities' duty to convert, convince, or persuade another nations and communities to live and act as yours does, then WE are corrupt.

If you feel that it is your human right and authority to threaten, degrade, weaken, kill, or torture sentient beings for your own gain, indulgence, and greed, then WE are corrupt.

When we disrespect the very thing that sustains us and allows if to live, WE are corrupted.

WE ARE Polytheistic, Monotheistic, Henotheistic, Esoteric, Exoteric, Pantheists, Gnostic, Atheist, and more!

WE ARE Greek, American, Polynesian, Asian, Native American, Indian, Latin, European, and more!

WE ARE Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends, and more!

WE ARE Lawyers, Doctors, Healers, Factory Workers, Spiritual Advisors, Teachers, Rescue Workers, Military, Police, Judges, Construction Workers, Accountants, Engineers, and more!

WE ARE you and me.

It is about all of us finding a common ground. Somewhere in our vast social structure where we can agree and disagree without violence, hate, resentment, and so on.

It is about letting our ego go so we can live free without the hindrances of judgment.

We are the choices we make each and everyday. We make the choices that make and break our world. These choices are what will eventually make or break us. Our small actions define our nation, our culture, our morality, and our spirituality.

We have the power to move forward in any method we choose. We have the force that decides what/who lives and dies, what/who lives in fear, what/who lives in peace.

We have to power to choose humility over ego. We have the choice to act respectfully, rationally, peacefully, and mindfully. We have the ability to choose positive actions over humiliating and intimidating actions.

We defend ourselves through distrust in others. We force others to distrust us by doing the things that break down relationships. We protect our families with the stories and beliefs we form in our heads. The intent is sound, but the actions are immoral. We teach these dysfunctional patterns with the intent to make the road easier.

In stark contrast, we have made the road more difficult. We have covered over the paths once treat with love and respect. Instead of nurturing respect and trust we nurture violence and hate. We have built a web of self manifested misinformation and irrational labels and determination about one another. Even if the initial issue was rational and justified, over time the story we replay in our head becomes more jaded and our rational becomes tainted.

We teach disrespect instead of respect. Hate, fear, and avoidance has become our 1 priority.

We have cut ties to those who we once called friend, lover, companion, mother, brother, sister, confidant. We have burned the deep inner bridges that may one day be our freedom.

How much time needs to pass before we can lay down our sword, our hate, and our ego? How much time must pass before we can allow ourselves to simply forgive?

Forgiveness is difficult because we make is so. Peace is unreachable because we choose to make it unreachable. Trust is unattainable because we choose to find ways to distrust one another.

The world has become gray because we decided it needed to be gray.

Once we traveled down the quiet dusty roads of the untouched land. We walked through the forest trails and we were at peace with self and nature.

We once respected the things that sustained us, and we gave thanks to these things. We took only what we needed and left the rest to nature.

We found peace near a babbling streams where the water was fresh and clean. We listened to the words the water had to tell.

We breathed in the fresh clean air and filled our lungs with purity and life. We listened to the song of the gentle breeze.

We walk the ground covered in indigenes plants. We listened to these plants and learned to use them to heal and protect.

We held our breath as we watch Deer drink from the stream, allowing her to teach us unconditional love and tenderness.

We sat quietly with our backs against Great Trees who live longer than our ancestors. Their roots taught us about stability and strength. We watched their seemingly rigid branches bend in the fiercest storm, seldom breaking.

We stood still to watch a Mourning Dove nurture her young. She taught us the grace of femininity as she gave us hope. She taught us to mourn the passing of those things that no longer serve us and to look forward to the promise of things yet to come.

We watched as Fox provided for his family. Teaching us to about camouflage and how to nurture and protect family.

We heard Crow in the distance, teaching us of universal law. His voice reminding us that there is a time and a place for everything and balance is the key.

We came face to face with Alligator who taught us to watch things closely from under the surface. Take all the information in before acting or reacting.

We sat with Grandmother Spider who taught us to read and write. She taught us the importance of home and creativity.

We slept with Black Panther who taught us to find comfort in the dark. Who guided us through the darkest regions of self.

We swam with Turtle who taught us about Mother Earth and her importance. She taught us to nurture that which will sustain us.

We once understood where to go, what to do, and how to act. We have made the choice to give this up. Now we don't know where we are going, what we are doing, or where to turn.

It all begins with you and me. If we don't make the personal choices that lead to becoming a better people, community members, and inhabitants of this planet we will never know where to go, what to do, and where to turn. We will destroy the very things that sustain and nurture us.

We have the choice to make ourselves right, to make this planet right. From small individual changes comes global change. Like a ripple on the water it starts in one location and eventually becomes big…Sometimes big enough to effect the entire body of water.

YOU ARE the answer, not "THEM". Change begins with you.

When will you brgin your ripple and how big will you make it?

Aman Nai.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Brightest Flame

The scent of Cinnamon on the candle awakens my senses

I run my fingers along the Tengwar carved into the wax.

It reminds me of my intent and stirs my soul

Red scales and wings surround me

Something is coming. It speaks to me in my dreams.

Protection, Strength, Energy, and Resolution are mine

So Mote It Be!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Successful Spellwork

Successful Spellwork

Lately some of my students have been asking me questions about Magick. Magick is a great subject because it is so personal and yet so universal. Several people can have the same intent and go about achieving it in very different ways, proving that there is no one right way to do things. The variety is stunning and holds special interest to me.

I had a one student ask me a question; I'm sure runs through everyone's head when it comes to using Magick. Her question to me was, "What makes Magick work and why is it effective for some but not others?"

In my experience, several factors must work in your favor for a spell to be successful. This list of factors varies with each spell and each person, so getting things right is very important and tricky. I think this is where most of us get confused and deterred. The elements we need to work in our favor are not always within our control.

As many of you know a spell is commonly compared to a prayer, yet intensified. There are several elements to consider, like timing, tools, specific intent, location, etc. In addition, there are plenty of "don'ts" we are taught when it comes to spell casting. Who wouldn't find the task a little daunting? I know I did at first.

I learned that if I follow some simple guides I tend to have great success with spells. Here is a list of things I have found help successfully create and cast spells. I am sharing this with my friends hoping that you can apply these ideals to make your own practice a little more effective.

1. Will. Keep in mind, this is not the same thing as intent. I have learned that I must have a specific desire that drives me to plan and execute a spell. This isn't as simple as a general need, but strong desire that drives me to work and focus. It needs to be clear and obtainable...

2.Talent and Skill. Some people have a lot of natural talent and some have to work at Magick a little harder. Others have a little of both talent and skill and seem to have no trouble with Magick. It doesn't matter if you have a little or a lot, just try your best, develop your skills, use your natural talents, and you will be amazed...

3. Patience. Some times we need things right away, but many times what we think is urgent, can wait a little while longer. When we are patient with Magick and ourselves, we can achieve things on a grand scale. You could be going without for many reasons. Maybe there is a lesson you need to learn or you are undermining your own needs and desires. Keep in mind that real life is not like Bewitched, we can't crinkle our noses and poof we have a basket of apples appear. Sometimes it takes years for your intention to become reality. Maybe your prosperity you are working on now will manifest later when it is a better time. Relax and let things happen, as they need to happen. Plus if you are following a spiritual path there may be certain expectations placed on you in connection to obtaining your need/want.

4. Wiggle Room. Give your energy room to adjust, as it needs. When we allow it to self adjust we allow it to work in the best possible way for our own benefit. Give your energy freedom and room to work. Keeping it contained and too tightly controlled is no way to get what you want and need. Perhaps you think your Magick needs to go right but in fact it should go left in order to be productive and successful in outcome.

5. Trust. This is HUGE! Trust in the energy you call upon as well as your own. If you doubt it, scoff at it, second-guess it, etc., you deplete yourself and the energy. I think the consequences are obvious.

6. Confidence. This next item also goes hand in hand with trust. You must have confidence in the energy you conjure as well as yourself. If you cannot believe that you and the universe have the ability to move and change things, you will get nowhere. Be confident about your work and abilities, and be wary of arrogance. Also feel and know that you are worthy of obtaining what ever it is you conjure.

7. Intent. Clear intent is essential most of the time. Sometimes we don't know exactly what we need and that is when we leave it in the hands of a greater power, (which is when spell work is more like praying). Magick is not necessarily passive. Magick is usually direct, after all it needs a place to go. Know what you want. State your intentions as clearly as possible. If you intend to come into a large sum of money by winning the lottery then say so. Just a warning… be careful what you wish for… You might get it.

8. Attitude, be positive. A positive attitude is everything. If you are continually negative about your situation, stop it! This is something we all struggle with from time to time. When I find myself down in the dumps, I change my attitude fast and decide to make it a happier day. Much of how things happen to us and what happens to use depends on how we look at things and how we react re-act.

9. Organization, get yourself organized. Organize your thoughts. Organize your tools/materials. (If you need them) Organize the space where you plan to work. Write your spell out and list the things you will do first, second, third, and so on. Also, make sure your space and tools are clean. When you have it all together you can focus and therefore making your spell more effective.

10. Personalization. Make the spell YOURS! Sure you can get ideas from others, why not! Just don't rely on the work of others (which usually is tailored to that other person's needs) to work specifically for you. Yes, in some cases it can happen, but not all the time. Make the energy yours, make the intent yours, make the spell yours! Own the energy and live completely in the moment you create.

11. Space. Being cramped or in a place that is too open can be distracting and can hinder your progress. Also, keep in mind other factors of the space, like the temperature of and noise factors. You want to keep your focus.

12. No after thought. When you are done with the spell and you release the energy, forget it! Clean up your workspace and tools, refrain from picking your work apart, analyzing your techniques, questioning the effectiveness, etc. Just let it go. If hours or days later you find yourself thinking about the spell and thinking about it in detail, distract yourself and find something else to think about or do. When we continually think about the energy we send out we end up calling it back to us and taking it away from your goal, thus depleting it of the strength you gave it in the first place.

13.Action outside the spell. Look at your situation before you plan your spell. I like to use "money" as an example when it comes to spell work because we can all relate. If you are sitting down to plan and conduct a spell that will attract more money to your life it is always a great idea to look at why you are low on funds to start.

Could you budget a little better? Do you spend money on needless things or things that are not sustainable? Do you need a budget to organize your spending? Perhaps you could just use some discipline. Once you look at why you have no money explore and decide on a plan of action that will help you keep the money you bring in. There is no use in doing a spell that will bring you more money if you can't keep it and use it wisely. Take time to identify the things you can do to improve your situation. Then after you cast your spell put these things into action. If you found that you need to follow a budget to control your spending, then create a budget and stick to it. You can even add an element into your spell that will help you establish discipline in sticking to your budget. The point is Magick doesn't and cannot work if you will not help it and allow it to work.

14. Practice makes perfect. Don't expect that because you did one spell successfully that you are a pro. Keep up the good work by doing spells as often as your personal energy allows. Perfect your techniques and skills through repetition. You can do simple spells for your friends/family (with permission of course), for your dog, your cat, yourself, etc. Also, give yourself variety by trying different forms and techniques. If you are good at Candle Magick, try Color Magick or elemental Magick next… Variety keeps you fresh and inspired.

The list above, for me, matters in all Spellwork. Of course, there are other things we can add to the list, but I think this is fairly complete. I found that no matter the day, phase of the moon, or the position of the planets I can execute a successful spell by following this guide. Sometimes all the elements fall into place on their own and other times I have to work at them a little more. It all depends on the situation.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Lesson of the Labyrinth, Part 1

It is solved by walking…

A traditional Labyrinth Mantra

There are a great many ways of applying the Labyrinth as a tool in our lives. You only have to use your imagination and walk a Labyrinth.

Labyrinths are unique and gentle teachers. A Labyrinth will awaken your inner wisdom and allow you to see the things you might over look. Labyrinths encourage your individual ability to become a better and more balanced person.

Some would argue or question how this solid structure or pattern could be gentle and flexible teacher. One person may it as too rigid. Another may see it as a bunch of meaningless lines. The fact is no matter your first impression; you will certainly change your view once you walk a Labyrinth. Their lines and patterns work with us instead of against us. They open us up to message and inner knowledge we might ignore.

I have studied and used Labyrinths for almost 7 years now. I was first introduced to them in a ritual during a spiritual retreat. The Labyrinth was made of corn meal on the green grass. At first it seemed strange to walk such an odd pattern, but when I did I was changed. Everything I was holding on to and hold back was freed.

If you have not yet experienced a labyrinth walk, I strongly suggest you look for one in your area and give it a try; It will be an experience you will not soon forget.

Labyrinths are beneficial to people who find it hard to meditate by using traditional, sedentary methods. I have also found labyrinths to be an exceptional tool for ritual and spell work. You are limited only by your imagination.

I would like to share with you some information so when you find a labyrinth in your area and decide to walk it, you will be knowledgeable about your journey. I have structured the information in lesson groups so the info is easier to take in.

Lesson One

Learning to Walk a Labyrinth

To begin this lesson you need a Labyrinth. Here is where I think most people run into trouble. Labyrinths are not available at Wal-Mart or Target. However, I think this is what makes them so much better than something you can purchase from a chain store or in mass quantities. Most Labyrinths are built by communities, and created by hand. Personally, I make 8’x8’ canvas labyrinths for individuals to use in their homes.

You will have to do some searching to find a labyrinth you can use, but it is not hard… and if you can’t find one you can make one!

You can search for a Labyrinth and Labyrinth Facilitators on The World-Wide Labyrinth Locator,

OK! So once you find a Labyrinth, how do you walk it?

Simply, you place one foot in front of the other and go… But for those of you (like myself) who need a little more detail here is some info you can use one your journey.

Since this is a spiritual tool as well as a tool for healing, it is important that you respect the design. I always bring an offering to give to the Labyrinth after I exit. I also follow some simple etiquette.
1. Do not cross the lines, unless it is an emergency
2. If you are walking out and another person is walking in, step aside and allow them to pass you.
4. Leave your Cell Phone, and other electronic devises outside the Labyrinth. You will have no need for them here.
3. Be respectful to the design and others walking the Labyrinth

There are many methods to walking a Labyrinth. Some jog, skip, crawl, but most just walk at a slow at a steady pace. What ever you choose it is helpful to remember a few basics.

A Labyrinth has three basic stages, the beginning, center, and exit/end. I will go over each basic stage separately so you can identify them when you walk a labyrinth.

The important thing is to never walk a labyrinth expecting it to solve all of your problems immediately. The universe does not work this way. As always, you must put in effort if you expect any result.

The Beginning
As the name suggests this is where you begin. It is the opening of the labyrinth and the journey toward the center. You should have a focus as you walk if you have something to resolve or improve. This is where you identify your needs and desires. Some choose a mantra or chant to say as they walk. I find that this adds to the experience and encourages one to focus more deeply. Another simple and effective focus is your feet. Your gaze will naturally gravitate to your feet, as it does feel each step as you touch the ground.

If you have no specific subject, then simply walk.

The Center
I encourage all who walk a Labyrinth to spend a few moments in the center. I like to spend some time in prayer so I may speak directly with the God and Goddess about my focus. I take this time to ask for guidance. I may also ask for wisdom, prosperity, energy, etc… anything I need to further my progress.

While you are here stop a while and reflect on your purpose for being here. Take your meditation further by allowing yourself to sink deeper and allowing yourself to let go. If you must leave something behind, leave it. If you need to take something with you as you leave, ask for it. Pray… Meditate... Chant… Do what feels right.

The Exit/End
When you are ready to turn and exit the Labyrinth’s path, allow yourself to feel the sensations in your mind and body as you move. Don’t analyze them, discount them, or question them..

Some feel compelled to move quickly out of the labyrinth, encouraged by a sudden burst of energy. I have also seen people dance their way out as though they were overflowing with joy! Exist in the moment and live each step as it touches the ground.

When you exit the Labyrinth, remember to give your offering, leaving it just out side near the opening.

Labyrinth walks are usually solitary journeys. These journeys can take as little or as much time as you need depending on the size of the labyrinth. The important thing is not to rush. Take in the journey and the lessons piece by piece so you can properly understand what it is you receive.

I hope your journey into the Labyrinth is fulfilling and beneficial. If you have any questions please feel free to post them!

It is solved by walking…

Rev. Brandy Boswell

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What is a Labyrinth

Classical 7-Circuit Labyrinth

What is a Labyrinth?
The embodiment of Wisdom, Prosperity, Hope, Peace, Personal Power, Strength, Protection, and Growth.
Or simply… The archetype for life.

A labyrinth is sacred symbol, an ancient pattern designed for a variety of reasons. It is a tool to be used toward self-healing. One may walk a labyrinth to quiet the chatter in your head enabling the walker to meditate effectively. One may walk a labyrinth to pray, deal with a difficult decision, or heal. Labyrinths have been used for centuries in rights of passage and to commune with the Gods. There are countless uses for a labyrinth.

A labyrinth is a geometric design that is usually portrayed in it circular form. The size of a labyrinth can range from one small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, commonly known as a finger labyrinth, to over 80 feet in diameter.

Labyrinths… Mazes… They are all the same right?
There are several styles and types of labyrinths out there and it is easy to mistake them for mazes. To add to the confusion many people misuse the word Labyrinth when they mean to say Maze. A simple distinction between the two is this…
Labyrinths are usually a single path structure that have no dead-ends or tricks to confuse the participant. The purpose of a labyrinth is to allow the user to meditate on a goal or issue without concern for what direction he/she should take next. The single path journey is a reflective inner walk with one's self.

Where did Labyrinths come from?
Labyrinths are found all over the world and are estimated to be over 5,000 years old. It is thought that labyrinths originated in Crete. However, evidence shows that they may have originated with the Amazons in the form of a dance. AS this dance evolved and moved from one country to another people began to place the dance in stone. What emerged was the classical Labyrinth.

What are Labyrinths used for?
Labyrinths are used in celebration, meditation, rights of passage, stress relief, fun, resolve inner and external conflicts, personal healing, personal and spiritual growth... The list is long and the possibilities seem endless, you are only limited by your imagination.

Many hospitals are now building labyrinths for patients and doctors to use when they need a few moments of peace and inner contemplation. Family members of the terminally ill as well as the terminally ill are finding clarity and acceptance as they routinely walk a labyrinth.

Professional office buildings are using labyrinths to resolve conflicts and lessen anxiety before entering into intense meetings and discussions.

All over the world people are building labyrinths in their backyards, churches, parks, and community centers so they may walk them when ever necessary.

Each person who walks the path of the labyrinth is touched in a special way. No one is completely sure why or how labyrinths work, but it does. Labyrinths are effective and their use is highly encouraged.

Stress relief, meditation, problem solving, healing…. Where could you use a labyrinth in your life?

Hand-Made Personal Canvas Labyrinth created by Rev. Brandy Boswell

Monday, June 1, 2009

Butt Prints in the Sand

Blessed Meeting!
I find we fall into a patterns where we unknowingly expect others to take care of our own issues. We do this in ways that are subtle and obscure. We are even clever enough to hide this from our selves. In some cases we try to force others to take the blame for our own mistakes.

This spiritual path is one of self. We follow a path of growth and transmutation. We are challenged to look inward so are able to confront our own inner demons and destructive behaviors.
To know ourselves and help ourselves is one of the most powerful and important tasks on this path. Standing on our own two feet allows us to stand beside the Goddess as she teaches us to walk with conviction.

We must help ourselves. We must listen to the deep inner voice that guides us and urges us to grow. We also must listen to the advice and messages of those who have come before us.

Blessed Be!

Spring time come and with it the sun.

Spring time come and with it the sun.

The light within is burning bright as we dance by the fires at midnight.

Peace and stillness that I find brings me close to heart and mind.

Truth be near as I seek my path within the trees. Divinity within I seek to please.

The light within is burning bright as we dance by the fires at midnight.

Spring time brings a sense of peace and urgency. In my heart the words I kept, as inspiration once slept.

Spiraling power let it grow, the inner Magick that I know.

Vanishing in the wind.

When there is nowhere to turn and peace is lost…

When the dark water closes in and I can no longer breathe…

Where can I turn to right the wrong I know nothing about?

How can I lift the veil that conceals my sight?

How can I remove the blame that is unfairly upon me?

Pain has my heart… Sorrow fills my soul…

When it all rips me to pieces… I feel lost…

I stop to ask directions and backs are turned. I am still lost.

The road continues ahead with no light, no destination in sight.

There is no place to rest and feel at peace. That place is now lost to me…

Vanishing in the wind.

by: Leandra Witchwood
Original post: 11-5-08

Being a Mother is…

Being a Mother is…

…knowing that some tears are frustrating, while some can be
funny, and others mean business!

…knowing when to laugh with your child and when to cry.

…knowing that a little spit-up on your clothes doesn’t mean
baby is sharing.

…knowing that a gentle lullaby sung form the heart is the finest pacifier.

…knowing that Breast Milk is the ultimate comfort food.

…finding joy in baby’s accomplishments from holding his head up higher longer, to his giant toothless grin, to his first science fair project, and beyond.

…knowing you are doing the best you can as long as you are
showing your children the love, consideration, and affection they truly need.

…knowing that no material possession in the world can gain your child's love and respect. Instead, discipline, self-respect, dedication, and kindness does the trick!

…finding total peace and fulfillment as your baby sleeps on
your shoulder.

…savoring special moments with your child while sleeping, breathing, walking, learning, singing, dancing, laughing, and crying.

…taking the empathy you feel for your child and applying it
to others in your life.

…feeling a great sense of accomplishment when your child
thinks of others before herself.

…knowing that big miracles with great lessons come in small

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Finding Our Self Esteem and Getting Unstuck on This Path

Finding Our Self Esteem and Getting Unstuck on This Path
-Leandra Witchwood
May 30, 2009

I grew up in a household where my extra efforts where sometimes scoffed at and ridiculed. Growing up this way I naturally believed that my extra efforts were silly and pointless. Even now after years of soul searching, meditation, and empowering myself; I still struggle with my less than healthy self-esteem. I now realize that it was my family’s insecurities mix with my own ability to hang on to the past that helped make me insecure.

I did not appreciate how common this issue is until I took a good look at our American culture. It happened while I was taking my most recent class on progressing in meditation. The instructor commented on how our American mind-set differs from the Tibetan mind-set. She revealed to me how our culture is based on “Your best is not good enough”, instead of “You did your best and that is good. Try it again tomorrow and you will do better.”

I immediately found this enlightening and empowering. It helped me remember that our mindset is not the only mindset available. It was freeing to know that I have the option to change. We don’t always contemplate the messages we receive from family, media, friends, and community. Unfortunately, these messages seep deeply into our psyche doing damage that is tough to mend. Over the past several weeks, I have been contemplating this reality and how one can conquer this subtle oppression.

Someone once told me this, “We are who we think, others think, we think, we are.” Some wisdoms are not always easy to grasp or express and this one defiantly has a “Whoa!” factor. To put it most simply, if we believe in ourselves and express our own inner strengths, others will pick up on this and it will become who we are to them. In turn they will treat is as confident and capable people thus encouraging our own confidence.

Our self-esteem is important in developing ourselves Magickally and spiritually. Recognizably it is counter-productive to achieve proficiency in Magick and spirituality without working on our inner blockages, like low self-esteem. When it comes to learning a spiritual path on your own and performing Magick, your healthy self-esteem is what drives our intentions home. You have to be willing to believe in yourself and your abilities 100%.

When I began this path several years ago, there were very few creditable people offering classes, apprenticeships, coven opportunities, etc. So much of what I learned in the beginning was on my own. Before I was able to find competent teachers with enough experience under their belts I read books, practiced what I read, kept a journal of my experiences and more. From what I can gather not much has changed for many people out there. Many beginners and many of those on the cusp of moving beyond the “101” stage are still limited to learning on their own.

So if we spend so much time practicing alone, reading alone, and learning alone why can’t we find some pride and empowerment in this? Doing so much work and finding the will and dedication without someone encouraging us is not easy. By taking these steps on your own shows you have the inner flicker of your own healthy self-esteem. You don’t have someone around to explain things to you or push further, you tapped into your own personal strength. I feel for people when I read how they feel stuck and can’t progress on their own. I immediately want to jump in and offer encouragement.

I feel we are placed here to help one another ascend. Here are some ways I was able to move forward, find my inner power and confidence. Perhaps you can benefit from the things as well.

1. Read – I don’t mean simply read things published by Pagan authors. Read fiction, periodicals, blogs, and subjects that may not pertain to your practice but have a sense of creativity. Read something that inspires, motivates, and above all challenges you.

2. Listen to Pagan and Spiritual Podcasts –There are so many Pagans out there chatting up the internet. Some you will agree with and some you will not. That doesn’t matter. The point is to open yourself up to other points of view and ideals. This is also a great way to practice non-judgmental listening. If we become too judgmental of how others practice we lose the point. Listen and learn with an open heart and mind.

3. Practice Staying in the Moment – This is a tough one, but it is essential. Breathing is a great way to practice. I found that I am able to adjust my thought patterns and emotions by simply focusing on my breath. Sometimes I will incorporate Yoga breathing techniques, which also seem to be effective.

4. Get Outside – Go camping, take a hike, listen to the birds, watch the clouds, study animals in their habitats without interpretation, or document the growth of your favorite tree or garden. Watch Nature in all her splendor and take time to realize her connections and cycles.

5. Create something – I have a few hobbies and crafts I enjoy from sewing to candle making to making herbal remedies to gardening. I find that when I engage myself in something creative I relax and think. There have been several occasions where I reached critical epiphanies while sewing a ritual robe or cooking up a healing salve.

6. Find a tough and experienced Teacher – I can’t stress this enough… find a tough and experienced teacher. Find someone who has been around for a minimum 10 years, Preferably someone with experience in leading others a public group. When you find someone with experience like this, you are likely to bypass the drama and head games that inexperienced and socially closed leaders tend to indulge. Our Elders are very important and from what I have seen we discredit them too quickly. Make sure the teacher you choose will challenge you mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to accept the challenge of learning something new. Finding a teacher is not always easy but when you find the right one you will be amazed at your growth.

7. Be Willing to Dedicate – Passive learning never does anyone any good. Personally, I see too much passive learning and engagement from the community. Maybe that sounds a little harsh but it is true. We tend to look for the easy answer and the quick fix. Truthfully, this path is filled with necessary lessons that are difficult but well worth the effort. Without these lessons, we would gain nothing. If we only look for the easy in everything, we end up with a very shallow spirituality. When the tough lessons hit you try your best to recognize where they hit you the hardest and find ways to stick with it. Dedication will deliver a deeper understanding of the spiritual experience.

8. Notice your own patterns – I had a man come to me a few years ago who wanted me to read his cards for him. As soon as I saw him I knew what he was looking for. He wanted to know what was following him around to make him have such bad luck. I also knew he was not willing to know the truth. As I read his cards, the uncomfortable truth was revealed. The cards said to him that he needed to change the way he lived his life and viewed/treated the people in his life. He needed to change his reactions to situations and he needed to release himself from negative redundant processes he had become blind to over the years. He was convinced that someone had cursed him, and that may be true. One of the most basic curses and hard-hitting curses is to bind someone to their own destructive behaviors. So if you feel you are stuck take a look at what you have been doing and perhaps try something new.

9. Don’t Quit – If you quit you fail. I don’t like using this word but I can’t describe it any other way. When you quit no one can help you. If you need to step away for a while then take the time you need, but don’t allow your frustration to drive you to ending your journey.

10. Help Others – There is a certain inner reward for doing something for someone else. Volunteer your time helping rescue wild animals, clearing hiking trails, reading to kids in the library, weeding a community garden, etc. Do it as a distraction, make the effort to give back, and give yourself the time to connect with other people even if they are not from a Pagan path.

These are only a few things we can try to move forward and become more confident within our practice. Through time and dedication, we can look back and see how we have changed. Most of us don’t change over night. Give yourself a break and give yourself some time. Change is usually scary and difficult for many people, but trying your best is all you can do. If you falter, try again. You will do better each time.

Do your best today. Try it again tomorrow and you will do better.

Bright Blessings!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Owl Medicine

Lessons of Owl

Owl is a mysterious creature who is friends with the night and flies on silent wings. Her presence is rarely noticed unless you know where to look. Her breeds and calls are numerous, and her lessons are never easy. Owl sees what we want to remain hidden. Owl is honest and sees directly into our heart and soul.

Although we have become most familiar with her symbolism of being wise, there is more to her. In many Native American tribes, Owl is the wise one, the feared one, and the honest one. Some tribes see Owl as a symbol of danger and is deeply feared. They consider her a bringer of dark or black magick because she is a creature of the night and her ability to be around you with out you ever knowing. Owl is a silent presence always observing and is rarely seen. Some even see Owl as a “demon” or as a companion of those who practice Magick of ill will. In some cultures, it is said that if you see an Owl a horrible curse was coming your way.

However, most tribes adore Owl. They see her as a cunning and silent observer who sees all. She perches in the trees looking down to notice the smallest detail. Owl moves from tree to tree never making a sound continuing to observe and learn. When you least expect it she will call to you and startle you, immediately you realize your actions, deceptions, and movements are watched very closely. For those who try desperately to keep their dishonesty hidden this is an uneasy realization.

In the tribes and cultures where Owl is most beloved, she has two faces. She is the Wise One. This is the more accepting face of Owl, one we have chosen to associate closely with Owl.

Her second face is the True Seer. She is the one who sees clearly through to even the most concealed deception. She sees the tricks we play on ourselves and others. She sees our manipulations and does not hesitate to call us out on them. She tells no lie and she does not look away. It is for this reason Owl people are both loved and feared.

Those processing Owl Medicine are strong with True Seer energy, because of this they are often pushed out of groups within society. Many find themselves feeling very uncomfortable around people who have Owl Medicine although they may not know why. The reason for their discomfort is simple… Owl reveals one’s deceptions and when Owl Medicine is at work deceptions are exposed. There is rarely a middle ground with Owl people, unless Owl chooses to keep her distance or keeps the knowledge of said deceptions silent. Keeping silent is very difficult for Owl as it is her duty to reveal deception.

When we don’t understand Owl Medicine we find Owl’s honestly very unsettling. As many of us struggle with the truth and lies we hide within, Owl sees them clearly. Owl brings these deceptions forward and looks within us with giant piercing eyes. She looks into the depths of people and sees them for who they are deep down. This ability makes people very uneasy especially when they are not ready to face their own inner demons. When Owl is asked to reveal something she does it with naked honesty. When she is asked to call out the truth she does so even when the requestor is not prepared for the truth. Always prepare yourself if you ask for the truth from Owl.

Owl’s comfort with pointing out the areas where we hide and stumble is alarming. This ability is not exclusive to those around her. Owl also sees her own inner demons and regularly faces them. In some cases, it is hard for Owl to remember that others do not contain her unique gift of acceptance and her willingness to face her inner demons.

Owl does not mean to bring fear to others, her true intention is to bring peace within. She is practicing her gift as she best knows how in hopes that you will open your heart and mind to accept your growth potential. Her goal is to make these areas known so one can work on strengthening one’s character.

Owl people are not usually cruel people, they are genuinely compassionate, and they care deeply for those she reads. If Owl chooses to keep her distance from someone it is wise to follow her. She most likely sees something within that person that is disturbing and is not likely to change. She may not be able to tell you exactly what it is that repels her, but in time, you will see it revealed.

Because Owl prefers the cover of darkness and the camouflage of trees, her Lunar symbol is the Dark Moon and Full Moon. In some traditions, the dark of the moon is when Magick is most powerful. Some see it as being the time for “Dark” or “Black” Magick, while others (like Owl People) see it as being a time for Inner Magick. The Magick that is most difficult to reach because it requires you to conquer the darkest and deepest inner places of your heart and soul. This Magick comes from years of meditation, stillness, balance, and a full understanding of self. This Magick is only accessible when the user is completely able to let go and achieve true balance. To some surprise this ability does not come naturally to Owl people in their current corporeal form. Only through time, practice, patience, and mistakes can one achieve the balance necessary to perform Owl Magick.

If you encounter someone who seems to possess Owl Medicine, remember to be aware of why you might feel uncomfortable in his or her presence. Remember be careful in asking Owl to reveal what she knows, you may not be prepared. If you open your heart and mind, Owl has a great many lessons to teach.

Friday, May 8, 2009

An Eco Challenge for ALL Year!

This challenge is taken from Julia Butterfly so I cannot claim any ownership to it. BUT I think it is a fantastic challenge and definitely opens one’s eyes to how wasteful we really are. I originally posted this in December of 2007 and thought it needed another go around!

The challenge is to carry your garbage around with you for one week. You can carry it in a duffel bag, backpack, etc. and take it with you everywhere. Take it to the bathroom, school, work, the gym, etc. At the end of the week weigh and measure the bag. You will be astounded!

The purpose of this challenge is to show each of us how much waste we actually produce. This is a great way to recognize your true carbon foot print!

I think once you learn how much trash you actually produce you will learn ways to reduce your wasteful tendencies. It is also a great realization of what could happen if we continue to over fill our dumps and landfills without seeking our alternative methods like composting, recycling, etc. Where is the garbage going to go when there is no place left? Perhaps it will end up in your own backyard...

After you complete the challenge do it again in one month and see if you have decreased the amount of garbage, you produce. Decreasing the amount of garbage we each produce is the goal!

If you cannot do it for a full week, try it for a day or two. You will still be amazed!

Good luck!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In Hope of Understanding

What I expect of you is nothing more than for you to remain true to your heart and dreams.

What I dream for you is for you to bathe in strength and beauty. What I dream for you is that you find your place as I find mine.

Emotions on the tide are made into storms out at sea. We toss and turn while our true intentions are lost and our desires endlessly burn.

Words are lost when spoken in anger and intent is misunderstood. We close our minds to the possibilities and lose the things we hold dear to our hearts. Honesty is my strength and my weakness. It is my blessing and my curse, as I am sure you have found true. I will be nothing but honest with you, that is my calling, what else can I do?

The fog of loss and confusion makes it hard to take. All we can do is improve as we recognize what makes us blind… In hope that from insanity we shall awake.

I see in you a light, brighter than most. A light that is filled with strength and hope. A light that is slowly being put away.

The constants remain, my love for you… my dream for you... my hope for you. Let your light shine from within and not weakened or dimmed.

Sometimes the one who banishes our light is within and we must seek to banish this limiting being before forgiveness can begin. Many call it ego. I have to agree. To find it deep we must go. Into place we‘d rather not know.

From this being, I have spent a long time learning how to break free. It is hard to let go. It is sneaky and friendly. It is sly and speaks to us the words we want to hear. It is hard to let go.

Beware this is not our only challenge. There are others who will help this limiting presence breed, rather than let your true self flourish and grow. That want us to conform to their own inner greed.

What I expect of you is nothing more than for you to remain true to your heart and dreams. I still care about you, no matter what challenges we go through.

Life is tricky and even more are the relationships within… but when I see you shine it is then I must not resist my own inner calling. Yes I must, give in. I see your light clear and true, but a lethal haze is rolling in, what else can I do?

I have no choice but to set aside my assumptions and truths I hold inside. After all we are no more than humans. People who try to find the answers… but fail as we are caught up in the emotion and drama created within. Stillness is a clear window to the soul this is where healing will begin.

Honesty is something we cannot deny. Knowing this, I choose to grow beyond the assumptions that loudly cry. I find peace for myself and hope you will find it too.

Stillness brings to me rapture and intensity.

To find understanding between me and you, reaching out is all I can do.

You are my friend no matter what challenges we go through and YES I still care about you.