Thursday, November 27, 2008

Moon Cord Ritual Tool

One of the activities of my full moon ritual this month was making this Moon Cord. This cord is meant to be a tool for magical use. So if you want to wear it for moon energy, or keep it on your altar during the moons etc. it can really be used however you see fit. The concept of three in terms of New, Full and Dark moon, as well as Maiden, Mother, Crone; are a main theme in my spiritual practice. I think everyone can relate to this energy and I know for myself it cycles through my month.

Supplies you need: three pieces of cord, wool or string etc: One for each moon phase. I chose 3 colours: the new moon an iridescent pink woven with mauve, for the full moon a bright white woven with silver, and for the Dark moon black. I also included some shiny, silvery moon charms. I painted a wooden box with the triple Goddess Moon symbol to keep it in, when I gave the supplies to a friend as a gift.

After casting a circle, you light a candle as a focus for which your moon energy.
Next braid the three cords.
You are then ready to charge the cord.

Use three Goddess aspects for each phase. I chose these three based on my own preferences and my friend's as well. But personalizing this can only help with the magic. I chose Artemis, Isis and Hecate.

As Artemis leads us with her torch
To the spot deep in the wood where her silver new moon waxes,
I charge this cord with her strength of a lioness,
And her depth of the darkest forest

As Isis holds the knowing of our own wombs
With her gifts of renewable abundance
Her full moon reigns almighty
I charge this cord with her all-seeing third eye
And her ever constant gifts of truth

As Hecate holds the moon’s magnetic reins
With her ancient spells, letting the night sky rule dark and cool
I charge this cord with her old Heka magic
And her power as Mighty Queen of the Witches

So Mote it Be.

Once the aspects are drawn in to the cord knot it nine times. Since I used thick cord I could not knot it so I tied three moon charms on and knotted the embroidery floss three times on each charm. Leave it with the candle to charge under the moon energy. Try to store it wound in a circle to retain the charge.

As a little disclaimer, this is the first Spell type posting of mine. I am not the creator of this spell, but I no longer have the source of it either. I did change it, as I'm sure anyone who does it will further change it to suit their needs.

I would like to send a special blessing to the people of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) India, at this tragic time for the world. I pray that the seed of hatred that is trying to be sown by these terrorists is rejected and in it's place compassion and healing can grow. Namaste.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A quiet season

Take a little time to smell the rose hips...

Here I am after a birthday weekend of the flu. Not the best birthday gift I've ever received. One thing that being totally out of commission does for you is get you really motivated to get some work done. I have lists running for meals, gifts, & crafts I'd like to make. Not to mention lists for around the house tasks: move plants around, clean everything, baking, pillows to make, decorating for Yule. I'm already overwhelmed.
There is a stillness as well. Something that swept through me while I was sick; the thing that forced me to the couch and made me stay there for more than a day. It was obvious that I had not been listening to this force and so it had to take me over completely. The quite of this time of year, the darkness, the cold; it asks us to turn inward. Take the time to listen to your soul, watch the birds eat the last of the berries, feel the chill and the contrasting warmth under a blanket. I have a wish of stillness this season for us all. Peace & stillness to you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November so far...

Wow it has been quite a month for us. I have so many things plunking around in my head that it is almost impossible to pick a starting point. But I'll just dive in I guess, sorry this could be a long one.
The month began with the birth of Heidi's baby boy. You may remember that we had her blessingway in September (which seems like eons ago now). She gave birth to a 9lb boy on her own birthday. The birth was quick, and so I did not make it there in time. After much deliberation by his parents his name is: Lucian. We are so happy to have another boy to add to our heart family. He is adjusting well and the new family of four is too.
Weather wise the beginning of the month brought us lots of rain. Not unusual for this part of the world at this time of year, but it was torrential at times and some gutter/roof problem brought rain into our fireplace and half of our bedroom floor. During that time we slept in the guest room; to avoid the musty smelling carpet, changing bins of soot filled water out of the fireplace every ten minutes; lets just say it was challenging. That was cured by putting a tarp over the whole chimney area, and our carpet was cleaned. I hope that we can have a fire for Solstice but we'll have to wait and see...
The last week has been gorgeous for weather. Crisp fall days...which we don't usually get here. On Monday Dave and Ky and I went for a lovely walk. We came home with rosy cheeks. Ky and I walked yesterday to have tea with an old friend of mine. And again this morning we walked to the park so he could have a swing. He is nursing a cold though, so we didn't stay long.
Yesterday we had such a lovely morning, followed by a horrible afternoon. I turned my head for that proverbial second and Ky rolled off the change table! Oh my goodness I was so horrified. He landed on his back and head really hard. He let out a scream, that scared, hurt sound that sent my stomach into knots. He landed so hard that I was worried he may have a concussion. So I called Dave and he came home from work. We called the Nurses Hot Line and they recommended that we take him in to a doctor to be looked at. The doctor said he was fine, but to watch for symptoms of concussion. He has been fine today, I am so grateful that he was not badly hurt. The buckle now goes on as soon as I get him on the change table. I feel terrible about it. There is no excuse for making such a stupid mistake.
I have decided that I have difficulties on my odd years. What I mean by that is that tomorrow I turn 31. Now last year my birthday flew by. I was pregnant and had just moved, there was too much going on to reflect or turn inward. But I remember feeling like this the year I turned 27 and 29. This self-reflective and somewhat critical energy. I have been down on myself more than usual lately. I don't really care about aging, its not a mortality thing, just a malaise in my skin. I am dealing with these feelings in various ways: I planned and followed through with a ritual for the first time since June, I've chosen a course of spiritual study to keep my spiritual side challenged, and I'm working on my Autumn pillows. Yule plans are keeping me busy and I have started training for an at-home job. Mostly I'm trying to keep positive and let the negativity wash through me. I don't want to hold on to it, or store it anywhere in my body.
Tomorrow friends are coming over and we are having Thai food. Yum........challenges or no, 31 looks like it will be ok.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Art of the Month: November

Drawing Down the Moon, ink on paper, 2000

This piece is pretty literal. I did a whole series of work on the moon for an open media class. This touched on the witch's act of drawing down the moon. It is a very graphic piece for me, but I was trying to keep simplicity in mind. I wanted to capture the essence of many becoming one. Thirteen as One in the act of changing consciousness at will.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reduce & A No Plastic Yule

Today I planned to talk about the most important of the three R's. Reduce. Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess has issued a new challenge to her readers: The No Plastic Holiday Challenge. So I thought that since I signed up I would talk about both.
As I try each day to live a green lifestyle; Reducing my family's consumption is always on my mind. I do not shop everyday, that is a conscious choice. I try and shop the least amount possible. Our culture wants us to shop all the time and just feed the machine of consumption. I would hate having to go to a store everyday. So I plan out shopping, groceries are the necessity so they are once a week. Otherwise I leave shopping for special occasions or emergencies only.
Secondly, I always consider the packaging when I purchase something. If fruit is wrapped in cellophane on a Styrofoam plate I do not buy it. I rarely even use a plastic bag for veggies & fruit. The number you are purchasing does determine if you can skip the bag, but another option is to bring a bag from home, or if you are only getting two or four oranges just put them in the cart together, not hard really.
I try to never get a bag from stores. I bring my own bag, or I carry out things and keep the receipt to avoid anyone thinking I'm stealing. With a stroller its great, just pop it in the bottom and away you go. When I worked in retail 6 years ago, I remember customers in their buying frenzy paying for a gift. After they paid I would always ask: " Do you need a bag?" suddenly their eyes would clear and they would look down at the 3 or 4 bags in their hands and often say "No". I saved many bags from the landfill this way.
Sometimes even though a product's packaging can be recycled you have a more green option. An example of this is with hand soap. Liquid soap is usually in a recyclable bottle, but the energy it took to make the bottle and then to recycle it is more substantial than buying a bar of soap in a recyclable cardboard box. I will admit that it takes a long time to train your brain to think in these terms, but in the end it makes you feel that you are really doing your part. We can't all be activists, or green leaders, but we can make conscious choices with our hard earned dollars. And beyond the actual product's ethics, you have to consider the packaging's ethics as well.
Reduce is the first R because it has the most impact. In a way it is the easiest as well.
I am applying the reduce concept to Yule gifts this year as well. Amy is challenging us to avoid buying plastic gifts or gifts with plastic packaging. So along with reducing the packaging, reducing the amount of "stuff" in general is so important. Kyan is turning 1 on xmas day. This year he will have one birthday gift from us, some stocking stuffers from Santa, and a small Solstice/Yule gift. Even that amount is more than he needs, but it will keep things simple, and economical. For family we are going to have a strict budget per person and I have decided to use fabric tote bags as gift wrapping. You can never have enough reusable bags. In past years I have used gift bags. They are reusable but easy to damage and even though they are economical they end up in landfills eventually, and not to mention toxic to produce. I may even make the tote bags myself since I have lots of fabric stashed away. But I'm not putting too much pressure on myself since the holidays are such a busy time.
Yule is my favorite holiday. It has been since my childhood because my mother put so much effort into it and made everything so special and fun. Receiving gifts was never as fun for me as watching others open what I chose for them. The message behind this holiday for me is that we show people how much we love and appreciate them. We spend time together, we eat together, and we share gifts. I will post more about this season and my preparations further on. And without letting the cat out of the bag, I'll try and share my progress with the challenge as well. I urge you all to really think about your purchases this season and keep the three R's in mind when choosing your gifts.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Joni!

Today is the wonderful Joni Mitchell's birthday. She was born in Fort McLeod Alberta, Canada in 1943. I have to say that she is the coolest senior citizen I can think of.
My love affair with her music started in college probably in 1997. I watched a Governor Generals Awards ceremony on T.V. Joni was being honoured that year. Sarah McLauchlan sang the haunting song Blue in tribute to her. I went out and bought the album. Blue (also the album's title) is arguably one of Joni's most raw and popular albums. It was released in June of 1971, six years before I was born, but Joni's music is timeless. If you have never listened to Joni beyond Big Yellow Taxi ("you don't know what you've got 'til its gone") please give her a listen. I would recommend starting with Blue or Ladies of the Canyon.
What is it about her music that is so compelling? Her lyrics are complex and make images flow through you. She is a natural talent there is nothing that is off limits in terms of artistic expression for her. Here is the chorus from her song Sweet Bird (from the album The Hissing of Summer Lawns 1975)

Sweet bird you are

Briefer than a falling star

All these vain promises on beauty jars
Somewhere with your wings on time

You must be laughing

Behind our eyes

Calendars of our lives

Circled with compromise

Sweet bird of time and change

You must be laughing

Up on your feathers laughing

Joni's life is very interesting. She was a part of the folk music scene that championed Bob Dylan and Crosby, Stills and Nash, but she moved beyond the blond beauty folk singer image in the mid-seventies. Some of her fan base and some critics were not happy about her departure. But she would not be a jukebox, instead she chose to follow her muse and she developed her music into jazz and beyond and experimented with many sounds and concepts. Throughout her music career she painted as well. She considers herself a painter first actually. Most of her album covers are self-portraits. Her most recent endeavor was a ballet that she developed with some partners. The dancers interpret her music through movement. I have seen it on T.V but hope to see it in person to get the full effect. It is called The Fiddle and the Drum. One of my life goals is to see Joni perform in concert. She does not tour much anymore so I may have missed the boat but I have faith that it will happen. Her music touches me in a place that really cannot express words. I leave you with a verse from the song Woman of Heart and Mind (from the album For the Roses, 1972)

I am a woman of heart and mind

with time on her hands

no child to raise

you come to me like a little boy

and I give you my scorn and my praise

you think I'm like your mother
or another lover or your sister
or the queen of your dreams
or just another silly girl
when love makes a fool of me

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Scorpio...need I say more?

Well since I'm a Scorpio then yes, I think I should say more. Happy Birthday to my fellow scorpions. I am a lover of astrology; I say lover because I am not a follower in the sense of paying much attention to the yearly planetary movements etc. I watch were the moon is and think about the planets as they relate to the signs, but I use astrology as a means to understand people around me.
Many people let the quirks and traits of others bother them. They wonder why they can't change, why they are so difficult, or emotional or wild. Over the years I have kept close watch over my friends and family to notice similarities that could be attributed to their sun sign. I do not believe that the descriptions are strict rules. There are always exceptions. But what I have found is that you can attribute many qualities to people based on their sun sign and its corresponding element. In a future post I will go into the specifics of this idea, Heidi and I discuss these points frequently and despite many skeptical nay-sayers we have found that they have come to notice similarities at times as well. For today though I will talk specifically about perhaps the most controversial and misunderstood sign of the Zodiac: Scorpio.

Dates: Vary from October 23 or 24th to November 21 or 22.
Animals: Scorpion, Eagle, Wolf, Phoenix
Birthstone: Snakestone, Amethyst, Topaz
Body Part: Genitals
Colour: Blue-Green, Turquoise
Day: Tuesday
Metal: Steel
Plant: Cactus
Tarot: Death
Tree: Yew
Celtic Month: Birch
Element: Water

October/November is a challenging time for many in terms of weather and light. It is the dark time of the year. I think this is why Scorpios are seen as moody, jealous and vengeful. We are born in a time of death, making us a reminder that death and birth are unequivocally linked. While most Scorpios I have known are sarcastic and moody, we are not all vengeful. Sexuality is also associated with us. Our passion and intensity are keys to a sensual being. I do not know a Scorpio who is not a fan of sex (but who is not?) Our power lies on many levels. We are opinionated and determined. Water is our element. We flow swift and strong as rivers. Deep, sometimes treacherous beneath a calm exterior. We are complex, which makes our reputation as murky as it is. But overall I love being a Scorpio, and if you ask anyone who is they will probably say the same thing. When I was pregnant with Kyan I looked at the compatibility between Scorpio and Capricorn in terms of parenting. The one site I visited did not even have a Scorpio mother listed as most compatible with any sign. Why do we get such a bad rap?
Yes we are obsessive to certain degrees, self-absorbed, and very dramatic...but hey someone has to add some spice to life.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Magic of Trees

You step into the forest, needles crack under your feet, before you is a path covered with dappled light and your nose fills with the scent of pine.
That smell may conjure many memories for you, but did you know that the terpenes which are the chemicals that create that smell are also a natural climate control system? David Adam of The Guardian wrote of a new study undertaken by the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science at Leeds University in which they discovered that these terpenes are released by trees and join with the clouds above them to reflect more of the sun back into the atmosphere. It adds up to 5% more of the sun that is not being absorbed by the earth.
Trees are crucial to our survival on this planet. They studied boreal forests across northern regions such as Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. So while a single tree may not release as many as a boreal forest may, any tree can help to cool things down.
The sacredness of trees is unbelievable at times. They are so important for the health of this planet. So plant one, hug one or just admire a tree in your area. And whenever possible try to avoid buying, making or using products that could be contributing to the destruction of the earth's forests. They love us, we need to love them back.