A Journey With Blackbirdowl

Saturday, March 16, 2013

M Making a compassion shrine

M Making a compassion shrine
Saturday March 16, 2013:
Momentarily distracted from doing something else this cool and cloudy
morning, I am reminded of an amazing evening I was honoured to host on
Wednesday evening in memory of Vijayatara, who died two years ago last

A few years ago, my neighbors made me cut down a big, beautiful hornbeam
tree because it was blocking their light. I loved this tree and was
shattered. I built a sort of monument to the tree out of its chopped up
trunk. On the evening after it came down, Vijayatara came and did a puja
for the soul and spirit of the tree, and we dedicated the space to

It seems fitting therefore on 13 02 13, the second anniversary of her death,
to commemorate Vijayatara's life by inviting Tara to be a presence and to
make a compassion shrine. I source a resin dancing Tara, My companion makes
prayer flags from a green scarf I had once used in a ritual about
transformation and I invite Vijayatara's partner, sister and others to share
in the dedicating.
We gather together to bundle up our memories of Vijayatara and to create
another tangible presence in thanks for her life -there can never be too
many of these. A motley crew of Christians, Pagans and Atheists, we chant to
Tara and share stories about compassion inspired by Vijayatara. We give
this energy to the prayer flags for the wind to broadcast around the world.

Chanting still, we walk slowly into the garden and install Tara on a handy
log., here she stands, an outstretched foot hovering above the spiraling
ivy, a hand flung out in what I like to think of as a sacred disco
flourish!. The ceramic moon plaque beams down on her and the green god
wall sconce sticks his tongue out to remind us not to be too serious about
life. Even the large bronze coloured goose ornament stands by protectively
whilst the wicker goat dances for joy.
The bulbs I planted earlier in the winter are beginning to poke their noses
out of the cold soil. We hang the prayer flags so that the wind will take
our prayers of compassion around the world. Then we retire to feast.

Now every time I go into the garden, I sing to Tara. I remember Vijayatara,
and all I am because she was in my life.

Om Tara!

L Finding Impermenance

L Finding Impermenance
Wednesday March 13, 2013:
Vijayatara died at breakfast time on this day two years ago.

The sun is out in the garden. I sit down so I am in its beam. The air is
chilly, but not as cold as the day before. Everything is cool and damp. I
touch the newly emerging bulbs in the pot near the Compassion shrine. It
feels like they are a little more open than they were yesterday.

I sit down and open my awareness to what's around me. I wander through the
pathways of my various workings. Nothing really suits. I allow myself to
walk through leafy wooded spaces until I notice the birds. They are singing
sweetly. I tune in to their song.

Vijayatara is before me. She is lit up in the beam of sunlight, dressed in
her beautiful green robe. To my silent question about how I can work with
compassion, she says,
"think about impermanence. Everything will pass."
I think about how that might work but also how difficult it is to be in the
moment when it's painful. Perhaps I should hone in on the absolute moment,
the right now and here, I'm alright. There's something about working with
the minutia in the now and knowing that this too will pass. This is the
nature of impermanence.

I'm drawn to thoughts of suffering. It's the Christian thing to do
suffering big time and commemorate it in some way. That's odd. Why am I
thinking of suffering. Ah because the pain of some of the things I face
cause me suffering. This in the moment is an issue of being in the pain.
But if all things will pass, this will go too.

The birds fly about me. I feel them drawing closer in an avian embrace.
Their presence is strong. I feel their love. I feel Vijayatara's love. I
am loved. Can I be in the moment with this?

I am. It's a tender moment. I feel the heat of the sun on my right leg,
bathing it with gentle warmth. Because of this, I am not cold in the rest
of my body, although it is cold today. I allow the warmth of the gentle
kiss of the sun to permeate my body.

I stand up. The birds quietly drift away. I've made a change already.
Impermanence. All things will pass. This too will end. In the meantime,
be in the moment, and if it's painful, release the pain and just be with
myself in that basic "alright" state.

K The Bear, the stag oak and the two moons

K The Bear, the stag oak and the two moons
Saturday March 2, 2013:
The sun is out. We walk through the passage to Queen's Woods. Shrieks
echoe between the trees. Children are playing in the woods.
Beside a tall straight oak, surrounded by holly we stop. This is the place.
The children are some distance off, although their voices can still be
heard. There's room enough for us all here today.
I call the birds that sing bravely in the biting march wind; let the song
travel to us to remind us of bright days to come.
I call the sun from behind the clouds: let it guild their unseen
heaven-facing tops with golden light, so that we may feel it defuse to us
down below. This is the heat of the vitality of our lives.
I call the water from the aquifer below: trickling and snaking through the
earth, attributing across the woods in narrow brooks. Let it reach out its
fingers, like thin silver nerves, veining the earth below.

I call the standing trees, like living pillars; Let them reach up to the sky
in this, natures cathedral, their feet rooted deep in the earth and their
top branches holding up the sky. Come and unite earth and heaven and bring
energy to this place with your pulsing life.

I call all that unites and brings together, the spirits of the place and the
creatures. All come creeping, stepping, slithering, flapping and sauntering
to join us.

I'm settled back on the rough oak, its gnarled strength holds me up. My
companion leans her back against my shoulder comfortably.

I breathe. I feel my life pulsing through my veins, driven by my breath.
Striding through the trees comes Cernunnus, great horns like twisted tree
limbs, majestic and powerful. AS he passes. All the trees bow in salute,
their leafless limbs shaking in agreeing or perhaps it's the wind?
I am large and furry, my legs stretched out, my hands comfortably folded on
my belly, my head thrown back in repose against the tree. The tree is
growling, I am growling, together we sing of the horned one.

Together we breathe, my pulse, the trees pulse, my flesh, the trees flesh.
I sit and growl and am here now.

O but it's so easy. It's so comfortable and I feel so very here. I am
cradling me, holding me against my great belly, rocking, crooning, growling,
and loving. I am here with me. I am here with me.

I sing, the trees sing and the bear that is me sings. So comfortable. So

Crows caw high in the sky. The clouds seem to thicken and close. a sharp
wind tugs at my coat, reminding me of bitter winter, not yet gone. O but
its cold.

We shift my companion and me. The children are gone but the wind is fierce.
We get up and walk stiffly off.

We both need to pee. My companion is just presenting her bottom to the
world, as a woman appears. We all laugh. I am more cautious and point my
round mooning bottom at the tree. "Two moons rose in the evening woods,"
quips my companion. Cackling, we march off to the bus stop.

J Called to the old ones

J Called to the old ones

Tuesday February 26, 2013
In the garden, everything is a bit damp. It's cool and soothing to touch.
I've not got much time but am drawn down to the well again. I leap over the
square pool to the steps on the other side. My sick friend, still sitting
there and Bride, opposite her, don't seem to notice.

I stride up the steps on the other side; there seem to be a lot more of them
on that side. At the top, I survey the undulating countryside before I am
drawn to noticing the large hollow tree to my left. I'm sure I see Mama
bear disappearing inside. I follow, find the spiral stairs and run down
after her.
Marching through the tunnels, I come to the cavern with the big square
dancing fire framed by its stone fireplace. There sits Mama Bear and the
World. I sit down on the floor with them and rest my head on Mama Bear's
tummy. The wolf comes to rest her head on my knee. We are still, watching
the fire. It is so comforting.

But the day calls me back. Reluctantly, I climb back up the spiral stairs,
down into the well, leap across, touch my sick friend on the shoulder, nod
to Bride, and scamper back to now.

Standing under the rowan tree, I feel the rough fur of Mama Bear against my
cheek and the reassuring pressure of the wolf's head on my thigh. Touch
into this and remember love, I think to myself.

I Bridie's bed.

I Bridie's bed.

Saturday February 2, 2013:
Take the tenderly intimate, soft swans down,
To the comforting warmth of the thick wool fleece,
And bring them to lie with the sleek silk sheet.

And as you stroke and smooth and fold,
Picture the textures that shade the hues,
A pallet of milky whites and creams,
So subtle so distinct and yet,
So similar and so self contained.

Hard on the heels of the snow and white frost,
Comes the ewe's first milk, and the frail snowdrops.
Cross the bridge that is February's twenty-eight days,
Walk from winter to spring, turn from fear towards hope.

Imbolc blessings.

We process in, smudged and belled clean, cast the circle and call
directions. I am north. I crawl around on the floor, growling and howling.
I'm having a great time. Who am I, a bolf or a wear! I like myself!

We invite those who inspire us. I invite Ang San Su Shi for her sheer
indominatable persistence. I call in my sick friend who is steady and
reliable even if she doesn't want to be.
With our candles and seeds we process to Bridies hearth. Bridie speaks to
me of creativity. The bard asks me what makes my soul sing. I say "the
wind in the trees". The spring maiden, blesses my seeds. I sit down and

We share poems and songs. I read them my Imbolc poem and sing them the
Cernunnus song. They join in. It sounds so great!

We dance the spiral dance. I take the energy for hope for my sick friend
and for me for the life force to keep going through dark and difficult
times. Then we open and feast, but not before I've rolled around on the
floor in my playful happy wear or bolf. Hmm, maybe it should be a belf?

H Bear and Stag at the Well of Healing

H Bear and Stag at the Well of Healing

Tuesday January 22, 2013:
Oo it's cold today! Another big freeze. I'm up and out in the garden at ten
past seven.
Everything is and shrouded in stiffening snow. I ease my way past the
burdened shrubs, their captures of snow freezing into hard clumps in their
stiffened arms. Behind the still quietness of the pre dawn day, traffic
shushes on the road in the distance.
Today I seek for help with a public body. I climb carefully down the steps
to the well. Miraculously, they are clear of snow. But the whole well head
structure is shrouded by great peaks of crystalline powder. Entering is
like going into a snow tunnel.
The water still flows! That's amazing. I really thought it would have
frozen over. But then of course it would never freeze over because healing
is available from within every day and night of my life irrespective of
what's going on in the outside world, I only need to remember this and
There's a strange light cast by the snow. It's coming in from where I am so
that my shadow stretches across the water. It's also coming in from
opposite, where there are more steps leading up and out to somewhere, I
don't know where, all I can see is snow and dark hoof prints on the snowy
ground above the cleaned steps.
The eerie light is added to by the flames of four fires placed one in each
corner of the well head and each contained by a shining black caldron. The
water sparkles silver and gold as it moves gently with the trickling of the
spring that feeds the pool.
Across in the opposite right corner sits a figure. She's in shadow but I
know her. To my right, my sick friend sits near a caldron fire, and is
protected from the weather by the well's shelter.
I pick up a shining golden challis and hold it out to Brigit, for it is she,
sitting in the far corner. She takes it and fills it from the spring and
hands it back.
Silver and gold dances in its depth. I give it my fears, defensiveness,
anxiety and confusion about the board work till it is dark and murky, thick
and noisome. Laying my other hand on my heart, I call a blessing down from
BRIGIT; ask her to clean this challis water, to transmute it into courage,
clarity, self love and strategy.
I ask her to bring me respect for those I'm dealing with, even though they
are behaving stupidly. I ask that I believe that they will find their
wisdom and move the barriers preventing me from doing my job.
I sing from my heart's place to the water on one breath, the sound of the
heart giving love. The water clears, becomes diamond bright. I take
another breath and drink it all down. I place one hand on my belly and one
on my heart and give thanks for these great gifts.
A movement opposite attracts my attention. The light is blocked from the
steps opposite as something large and dark moves down. He lowers his great
antlered head to the water and drinks. He raises it and looks straight at
me. I see his courage and love and feel it settling in my heart.
The great stag, lowers his head again in acknowledgement, he knows I have
received his gift. I bow low, hand on heart and he carefully retreats from
the well.
All is quiet. The light from the opening opposite is blocked by another
shape. A great dark bear lumbers down the steps to drink at the water. I
hold my breath for she is beautiful.
O but she is old, stiff yet dignified, her muzzle silver grey flecks amongst
the dark brown fur. Carefully she negotiates the steps as though each
movement hurts. With every step, I feel her pain in my own limbs.
At the water's edge, she raises her head and fixes me with two warm amber
eyes. They are full of love.
I want to go to her, to lean into her, to feel her warmth and strength, but
the water is in the way. A friend who's mother has recently died a painful
death, comes into my mind and, silently, I ask the great bear to comfort her
and lend a loving presence to her as she begins her journey in this world as
a motherless child.
The bear lowers her head, turns and stiffly climbs the steps and disappears.
Dark shadows move against the brightness of the snow, now beginning to
glimmer with a finger of pale winter sun which shafts down from a
momentarily clear blue sky.
I don't want to leave but I must. I must take my gifts to the day with me
and start that day. I take courage and love in my heart. I take also
courage, clarity, self love and strategy.
Touching my sick friend on the arm who is sitting in the corner to my right
opposite Brigit, silently I say "I know you're here and I'm walking with
you, whatever happens." I bow to Brigit and turn to leave, climbing the
steps up onto the snowy path back to my garden.

G Golden chalice

G Golden chalice
Thursday January 10, 2013:
At morning prayers, I work for resources to help me at a particularly
difficult meeting today. A fourth opening, with steps that lead down to a
covered ancient well open up.
I climb down the stairs and find a golden chalice. I fill it with clear
spring water, breath what I don't want into it, sing it to life and
positivity and drink it down.
The well is beautiful. Fresh herbs and shrubs surround it and grow on top
of the structure that protects it. Yet, a shaft of sunlight reaches in and
makes the clear water glitter. It'ssheltered, welcoming and protective.
I feel freshness and strength fill me as the cool water moves through my
body. A robin sings loudly and the spring dances.
This seems to be a healing place. I will bring work for a sick friend here.

F Three ways to the future

F Three ways to the future
Sunday January 6, 2013
There's some indecisiveness about which path I will take. I start on all
three recently used gateways. Perhaps I need them all.

I climb up through the trees on the hill to the clearing in the woods. In
the centre a spring tinkles in a rocky pol. Beside it, the fire springs up.
They merge and dance together, fire shining on droplets of water, steam
rising into the air. Above in the canopy, birds are singing. I can hear
rustling in the undergrowth of many small hoofed and pawed creatures moving

Out from amongst the trees comes a small white Nanny goat. She bleats
softly as she gambles up to me. She buts me insistently, and I realise that
her udders are dripping and she is in urgent need of milking. I wonder
where her kid is, that she is in this state.

I kneel down besides her, leaning my cheek against her soft downy flank and
milk her into a stone bowl that is sitting beside the fire spring. It's
easy. The milk is warm and smells deeply silkily. I'm not keen on milk but
love cheese. This milk smells like it would make great cheese.

When I have finished, she leans against me as though to thank me. I wonder
what I will do with the milk.

I'VE never drunk goat's milk before. As I say, I don't actually like milk.
I raise the stone bowl to my lips and sip. Oo it is creamy and tangy. I
can taste the cheese it will be.

The birds are singing. The creatures are scurrying in the undergrowth.
Again, I wonder where her kid is. She leans against me, bleating gently.
She loves.

My heart is warm. I feel loved. She has given me such a gift in this milk.
Perhaps her kid has been taken from her and she seeks another to nurture. I
smile to think I am like this goat's kid!

I see the tall majestic ash. I will give some of the milk to her. Maybe it
will help her and all her species, symbolically if not actually. The
insects of the woods will also enjoy it.

The rest of the milk, I set down in the bowl by the fire. Down from the
trees come the birds. Out of the wood come the small creatures, little
moles, mice and even bigger ones like badger and hedgehog. They drink and
are sated. My goat buts me once more. I lay my hand on my heart and bow to
her in respect and reverence. She bleats playfully and skips off into the

Laying my hands on the forest floor, I breathe my thanks for this place and
this bounty and carefully climb down the path.

I climb up to the combe at the top of the second path. Here, backed by a
hedge of broad and deciduous trees, I gaze down at the calm world. The sun
shines full in my face and the birds wheel around in the air, coming to
land. Eagle, pigeon, goose, owl and blackbird come down. They are here to
remind me of the wisdom of the birds. They sing their power out to me and I
am soothed by the scirring of wings and their song.

They accompany me back to the garden and sit in the trees in the Parkland
Walk singing. I can come here when I need and want to hear them. Dear,
dear birds.

I take the third path. I walk down through a winter wood, to a bubbling
stream or small river. I'm cold but I'm drawn to swim. I take off my
clothes and do just that.

It's lovely. The water is cool but not cold. It is silky on my skin. I
swim a long way down river then back again. I climb out on the crescent
beach and kneel down before the hedge of broadleaf and deciduous trees that
edges the beach.

He arrives, tall and majestic, pushing through the trees, his hooves on mud
and shingle. I kneel down at his hooves and put my forehead to the ground.
I feel his presence above me as I humble myself at the feet of the wild.
Time passes.

Something soft touches my shoulder, a cheek, a muzzle, a gentle gesture bids
me rise. I do so looking up into that face, fierce yet gentle, dark
magnificent antlers etched against the blue winter sky. I lay my hand on my
heart to say, I hear you and I thank you.

I return across the river to the garden.

The birds are singing. There's a smell in the air as though the earth is
beginning to warm. It is too soon, I think but I breathe in its hopefulness

E Self-destruct, transforming anger and tools

E Self-destruct, transforming anger and tools
Tuesday December 4, 2012:
Self destruct
I cast and invite an exploration of what I need to deal with physical
discomfort and emotional trauma. I'm in the cave with the lake. This time,
I don't know if Kwan Yin is on the wall. The lake shines invitingly. I
climb in and swim around.

I am conscious of a different movement when swimming. My arms, now forelegs
are scaled, black and lizzardy. My lower body moves differently as though a
great scaly tail was propelling me. I swim around ferociously, snarling, my
great jaws gripped in rage.

I am so angry. I am so angry, I begin biting myself. I rip at my flesh,
snarling, and the power in my jaws iron strong. I feel pain, I feel blood
but I thrash and thrash, rolling and fighting myself with bitter hatred.

The water is thick with my blood. My limbs are still more or less attached,
though great rips and tears leave the flesh flapping.

The water stirs. Something large is moving towards me. I am lifted up from
the water. The air stings my poor ripped flesh. Two great furry paws, wet
with the lake water, slick with my blood, cradle me tenderly, rocking me

A tongue begins to lick my limbs. A rough but gentle tongue. Where it
touches my flesh, it heals it, until I am smooth and young and soft, lying
held against a damp hairy round stomach.

I look up. Old mother bear gazes down at me, tears in her eyes, glistening.
She has such a look of love in her face that instinctively, I reach out in

What has happened to me? What was I fighting in the water? Why was I
hurting myself?

I hurt myself all the time. I take out my anger and disappointment on
myself every day. I shout, snarl and rip at my flesh. I fill my mouth and
bite down hard because I am filled with rage. My jaw, neck, face and head
ache with the gritting of my teeth and the clenching of my jaw. If I can
release my anger, I can release my pain. This must be my work.

I am back in the sauna, warm and comfortable, relaxed and peaceful. It's
time to get going for I mustn't be late for the training.

Transforming anger
I take the black negativity and set fire to it in the fireplace where I meet
the wolf and the goddess. It takes time but eventually the golden orange
flames consume it. In its place is a shiny coppery amber heart. This still
warm, I hold, feeling its smooth reassurance. I take it into my heart.

Wednesday December 5 2012:
I cast a circle and walk up behind the shed on a path lit by the morning
sun. The path circles and spirals up through the woods. I walk on. It
curves up about the tree line, through the moor heather up to a summit,
which is a combe with several levels carved by wind from the top of what is
clearly a mountain. It is fringed with a high hedge of sacred trees of
Britain. I climb and sit down and look down on the world and my life. I
call birds to aid me in touching in on my confidence to do this work.

From the east, an eagle, gold in the morning light comes swooping down. Its
brightness is my intelligence and intellect, which is shining.
From the south, a great red dragon comes circling and spiralling down. He
holds the golden sun in his jaws and is incandescent with energy.
From the west, a flock of geese come flying, elegant in that v and flowing
in the up drafts, they move smoothly.
From the north, the great owl comes swooping. Wise old owl detached and
harbinger of change especially at twilight. Circling together they are
joined by the singing blackbird. These birds are me and my capacity to do
this work.
Reassured, I thank them and they fly off. Now I know what to do.

D The bear within

D The bear within

Saturday November 17, 2012:
After dinner, we go to the woods. It's a bit spooky at first, till I invoke
the owl and my companion invites Ganesh to come.
We sing to the trees. It is lovely. I find words flow, like "the moon
basketted by tree branches". And "owls hoot, their call like silver
moonlight pierces the dark". They swoop low and weave between the trunks as
though they were upright bars, segmenting the darkness that are the woods at

My stomach grumbles, wobbles and squeaks. O-Oh, something's moving. I ignore
it. The sensation travels down into my lower gut. Inexorably, drawn by
gravity, it puts pressure my rectum.
Goddess, I need a poo! There's no turning back, no stopping it. I retreat
to a bush, and bear like, poo in the woods!
I am a bear! I had been growling like one earlier, when my companion was
reading to her daughter, perhaps I've morphed into one!

Emerging from the woods, I shuffle embarrassedly away from the deed. I've
only ever pooed in public spaces before twice, once on a sandy beach and
another time behind an insubstantial bush on a popular nature walk! I
inhabit a sense of helplessness. My body has decided. It will do what it
must, no matter what.

Ruminating on incontinence and how it affects my life, I wander after my
companion as we exit the woods and head off. I liked the space. Why did my
bottom have to spoil everything!

I think we are fire divas. I asked for a fire. I get a fire. We sit and
drink wine whilst feeding the greedy flames.
I make up a chant which I don't retain in my memory. I am sure it will come
The temperature plummets. The stars are out. High above us, an owl hoots. In
the distance a siren splits the air. The fire snaps and crackles and I dance
with the flames.
I feel hugely comforted. Perhaps the bear has climbed into my body. I eat
fluffy bread and butter, dripping with honey. I eat it standing up, my hands
like fist, my chin smeared stickily. Who do I remind myself off?
Curling up under the duvet on the sofa, I grumble my way to sleep,
bear-like, growly large and dozy. Growl.

C Coming into my power as a leader

C Coming into my power as a leader
Friday November 16, 2012:
It's hard to sustain a portfolio career as an advisor in these days of
arrogant government who won't be regulated. Trust is the new equalities it
It feels like I've spent a lifetime making non-executive applications.
Recent success has only yielded pain in that discrimination has come dancing
Accepted for an important position, the body turns its face immutably away,
refusing to acknowledge its responsibility to move the disabling barriers. I
am in despair. My confidence ebbs away.
I take my pain to the goddess. Invoking her in her second aspect as empress,
warrior, and leader, I call on her to help. Despite the sapping of
confidence, I do know that she embodies many of the things I am.
I will call upon the power of those strong qualities, to enhance these
skills, connecting me with her and then to ask her to mitigate work on my
doubt, fear and internalised oppression. Then I will ask her to work on
others I want to influence so they see who I am and know what I can give. I
will ask her to help remove from them, the conscious and unconscious
barriers they perceive or actually put in place to stop me being included
and supported. Then I will ask her to work on the unknown.
We dress the altar with stones such as carnelian, garnet and amber. A gold
candle is placed in a brass caldron. I add the Amazon rattle and the
enchantress elixir I made last year. I place the eagle there too.
I cast a circle and call in directions with musical instruments. Together
we invoke the goddess in her second aspect. I call flame dancer, warrior,
judge, leader, queen, empress, Red haired dancing woman. As I call, I pick
up the Amazon axe and rainbow flag, symbols of the charge for rights. I
also pick up the Tara statue and call in Vijayatara to help too.
It's spinning and zinging. I talk of my qualities, thank her for them. I
build the fire with my precision, using it as metaphor for my skills. I
recall the ritual last Sunday just gone and all the qualities I bought into
Then I talk of the tears that quench the fire of success, of being
high-jacked by rejection and hurt, and fear as I am now because of the
latest non-executive board debacle. I ask her to help me grieve, heal and
leave behind this pain, whenever I am hurt. I'm not asking not to feel the
pain, just not to be hijacked by it.
I talk of the qualities I want others to see in me. I ask her to remove
their prejudice and inability to see what I can offer and am. I also ask
her to remove their prejudice and limiting beliefs that I can't do the work
because of their response to my impairment.
Then I ask for her to work on the unknown. I ask her to help me find my
true path, if this is it, help me move through. If there's another way, I
ask her to show it me. I am open for this path not being it. I want to
reach out to my future without the fear of not having money. My future
needs to be one that gives me enough to live on.
She is fading. We open the circle.
I pick up three stones to help me.
A Rough stone lies in my hand. It is carnelian, black on the outside bright
red within. A second stone rests against it, a smaller smooth stone. This
is garnet with the most pearliest glow from within. I take a third stone,
sardonyx, stratered with carnelian and agate with different streaks of red.
I pick up a green gold sequin bag, so green Tara holds the redness of stones
and energy and, the gold is the fire of the goddess.

B Searching for hope in the Dark.

B Searching for hope in the Dark.

I cast and call the dark goddess - I call Hecate as she will show me the way
with her fingers pointing three ways at once.
I crawl through coal black, flame shimmering wet pulsating tunnels. They
smear me with their juice. I climb out into a big chamber and crawl down to
the pool in the middle. I immerse myself in its warmth, rolling my body
over and over again in the cool water. .
Great hands take me up, lift me bodily from the water and carry me through
the chamber, bear me through tunnels into a warm room with a big fire. A
shadow sits in the corner, softly rocking. At her feet, another shape,
moves slowly, rises up and walks towards me as I sit warming myself by the
The wolf, for it is she, lies down beside me. She rests her old velvety bony
head on my thigh. She sighs. I sigh.
I watch the fire. Something dances in the fire. All my triumphs, successes
and skills dance in the fire. I see myself, golden and shining, dancing and
dancing. I dance the flames with my hands. She who is me, comes into my
hands, I hold her heat that is my enchanter passion as a leader.

I bring her to my breast. Her heat warms my skin. I breathe; she melts
into me and becomes an unquenchable dancing fire in my heart.
This is what I need, what will heel me. To know my shining self is within
me. I can dance the flame of a candle to be reminded.
The wolf returns to the figure in the corner. I get up and kneel before
both, one hand on wolf, the other on my heart, my head bent in homage and
I commit to lighting candles and playing with their flame to remind me that
my shining self is in my heart.
I pull three cards from the Mother peace deck.
What do I leave behind?
Shaman of cups: Fire/water - Putting on a mask to do work in the world.
What do I have already?
Four of swords: Cleans other people's energy out of yourself by meditating
on pulling the cords that connect you to people.
WHAT do I have for the future?
Initially I pulled the charge of the goddess. I take this to mean doing more
magical practice.
14. Temperance. When death is no longer feared, body and soul' can
integrate with one another, creating balance and a sense of self within the
midst of moving energy. In this card, water and fire unite in ecstasy,
consciousness dances in celebration of itself.

A Samhain apples

Samhain apples
Saturday October 27, 2012:
The woods are quiet. There's a bit of thick but sporadic rain. The crows
are cawing high in the trees.

We set out our things. I ground and purify. Someone casts the circle. We
take it in turn to call the directions and Sing,
"Lady Spin our circle bright
Weave our web of dark and light.
Earth, air, fire and water,
Bind us as one. AS we sing, we cast the circle.

I invoke Cernunnus, who comes striding through the woods. He stands behind
me like a solid presence.

Standing, feet apart on the ground, I reflect quietly. I listen to the soft
rain, the crows, the robins and what sounds like heavy breathing behind me.
I also hear footsteps.
A presence seems to gather. A circle around our circle. The hairs on the
back of my neck begin to prickle. "O-ho", I think, "who's this then?"

Voices rise and dance around the woods, bouncing off the trees, taking up
the space left by them.
"Where there's fear, there's power.
Passion is the healer.
Desire cracks open the gate.
If you ready it will take you in.

But nothing lasts forever.
Time is the destroyer.
The wheels turn again and again.
Watch out or it will take you through!

But nothing dies forever.
Nature is the renewer.
The wheels turn again and again.
If you ready it will take you through.

We dance to the gateway where the goddess waits in the isle of apples. She
asks us what we fear. I say. "Poverty, addiction. Depression." She
comforts me and lets me through.

There's a bowl of apples in water. I reach down and poke them playfully. I
am meant to be scrying but this seems a better thing to do. I laugh. The
Priestess, captivated by the playfulness forgets her dignity and laughs too.
This is what I need. This is what the bowl of apples in water is saying.
It's says "Play". Play, no matter how hard things are. Find time to play.
That makes sense.

The goddess shows us the apple, the symbol of death and the rebirth inside
with the pentacle and seeds. We each accept an apple, crunching it and then
giving the crows some.

Walking back through the veil to now, we sing and dance a spiral dance to
raise energy.
"Hecate, Ceredwyn, dark mother take us in.
Hecate, ceredwyn, let us be reborn."
As I dance, I feel the rough hand of the goddess on mine, pulling me faster
and faster. I let go of control. How easy is it just to dance and not think?
The sky lowers in that navy blue cool way. The trees draw close as though
for comfort and company. The birds are silent now for what sun there was
behind the cloud is gone. The earth yields beneath our feet, holding us
cushioned in safety as we walk. In the clearing behind, a dark figure stands
watching, seeing us safely away.