Sunday, April 20, 2014

Academics, Plans and Plants!

So it has been a while since I posted! Life has been so crazy I have barely had time to breath! I haven't had a moment of spare time, but I am going to skip studying for a test and write this instead. So first thing is first. This last few months has been very eye opening to me. I started last fall's semester with excitement and vigor, I made the deans list and did very well. Classes were "ok" I enjoyed the Death and Dying class as well as my internship in Ethnobotany. I worked in the lab a bit this semester as well but I have become a bit disillusioned. Last semester and this one I helped to go through chard plant remains from ancient Mayan rituals. They were found in caves and because of the climate had been preserved. I went through and found corn, wood, and even possibly palm or some textile. I looked at so many samples, and there are so many more to go through. It was so wonderful handling these remains. Much of the work was done under the microscope but it was still very exciting. Though this professor may be an expert in his field, I am not quite sure how he got there. Luck maybe? His lectures leave much to be desired, and he has even on occasion given us misinformation. Disillusion number 1. The second one was in my Women as Healers class. I ended up doping this class for several reasons, first I realized it was a bunch of work and lots of stress, I didn't need the class for credit it was just for information, but since it was a discussion class it was all self taught I can read the books at home without the stress. This was frustrating, the requirements were very high as well. So with my failing health I decided to drop it. The bad part is I really loved the Professor, she was excellent and so knowledgeable. With the class structure and my own issues it was just not a good fit. I don't understand why some classes are a complete joke while others are so hard that I cant see straight. So in short and for other reasons I am not posting here. I am not perusing higher education in a University at this time. It is not off the table, but I cant see why I would pay so much for misinformation, stress and frustration. Good news though, I will receive the Bachelors degree still! I have found that professors are either old school and very very hard, or new school and a joke. If you cant take the time to find out the local laws on a plant you have no business teaching about it. Enough about this, if you have questions feel free to write me as I have much more to say about all this but won't bore you about it.

I ended up teaching Dance again! Those of you that have known me for years knew that I used to be a professional Bellydancer. Well after moving back to the states, I took a break, and didn't want to dance anymore. Well this year not only am I teaching 3 classes a week, but i have a full student troupe! These ladies are so freaking wonderful it is so much fun to dance with them. They even put up with my very forgetful brain! In addition I am teaching Sacred Dance 4x a year at the same studio!

Because I have been so incredibly busy I haven't had the time I usually do to do the things I love. So the post about the powders and teas, they are still in the works but I am very behind. This is partially because I am growing their ingredients and the move meant the plants had to go through a bit of shock in their transplant. So I am still waiting to harvest some things and in part because of school, as well as my henna art has been keeping me busy as well. I will post about that below. I also moved in January, so I had to unpack my home, and get my plants transplanted. I took most of them with me and have taken photos for you to see below. The powders and teas will be released this summer.

Imbolc was quiet, but the Spring Equinox was a blast! The whole Coven got together and the public part I will/can share is that we made a flower mandala and stone soup. It was a fantastic day and it was wonderful to enjoy it with those I love. We have also been doing public rituals and packing the new house full of people. The first was an Avalonian ritual for sacrifice, healing and release. It was inspired by a ritual I had attended at Pantheacon.

At Pantheacon I became closer with Aphrodite and my own path and craft. These things will be revealed in time. I have to finish school and allow myself time to rest before I can share what the implications are. As I mentioned above my health has been failing. I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I do not want sorries, and sympathy. It simply just is. It is now just a name to what I have struggled with for so long. It also gives me new ways to heal, new plant allies (Thank Gaia for Arizona's Medical Marijuana laws) turns out getting a med card is easy, and so incredibly helpful! Did you know that they have MM gummy bears and honey sticks? I sure didn't! There is a dispensary right up the street from me, very classy and knowledgeable staff. I had no idea that different strains would mean different pain control, and sleep, and seizure control etc. They really have it nailed down! There will be more about this in the future as well. It is a learning process for me being more public about it, but since it is legal here and it is a plant why not right? The alternative is pharmaceutical medications with side effects and complications a mile long, no thank you!

Lastly a few other things i want to share! School will be done very soon, only 2 weeks! I plan on offering Water Witchcraft courses, continuing Wicked Wednesdays ( I haven't had time to film them, but I will soon!) Those powders and teas will be available soon with a new shop! (New Shop!) Lastly I have made it to the semi-finals in a henna contest I entered! There are only 5 left and I am still in. My goal is to be in the top 3 if I can get that I will be incredibly happy. You can see my entries here! So that is all for now, below are some photos with captions of what I have been up to. Here is to 2 more weeks of school!!!!!!!!!!

First Hollyhock of the year!

Herbal drying rack Dust made!

The Apothecary all set up!

Baby Monkshood!

Baby Belladonna!

Nettles, Dittany of Crete, Passion flower etc.

Rose garden! Not in bloom but very healthy! I didn't loose any in the transplant!

Beautiful Oleander flowers in bloom!

One of the 3 large Jasmine bushes

Baneful Garden just coming up

Herbal and Veggie garden doing well!

Another shot of the Baneful Garden!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ritual wear

This last week I attend Estrella War which is a annual SCA event. If you dont know what the SCA is you can find information at in short it is a Medieval reenactment society. Like any group there are ups and downs. One thing that is particularly good is their obsession with creating period clothing or "garb" I have been for sometimes thinking about ritual robes. We circle with the usual hooded bag (or T-tunic) that most Wiccan and Pagans use. It is simple, affordable and easy to make. Several of my students brought up the point that they were "ugly" I  never really thought of them like that, but if you think about it, they kind of are. I chose this robe originally for several reasons. 1) This is how I was taught, and I agreed with it at the time. 2) All of my students could afford them.

So while I was at this event I saw so many beautiful dresses, in so many different styles. Many were over the top but others were flattering and functional. Now I believe that we will be keeping them for the Wicca course, it makes sense and I don't believe that one shouldn't be able to practice because they cant sew or afford the robes. Since my girls are unhappy, and I am looking for something different for the Cauldron of Avalon, we will be working with more historically accurate ritual wear. I am working hard and researching as deeply as I can all aspects of the per-christian Priestess in the British Isles. Unfortunately there isn't much information on these things. So I am left to look at other cultures, and mundane women of the time. To the left is a 12c gown. I really love this style but there was so much christian influence by this time that it is most likely not what the Priestess wore. The 2nd picture is a Viking Apron dress. We do know that the Anglo Saxon influence was very strong in the area during the 5th-9th c. Many of my girls like to veil for ritual as well. So with the help of some knowledgeable Scadians I have come up with 2 options. I do believe we will have a winter and summer "ritual wear"  both consisting of the same under tunic most likely in linen. The linen fabric is a natural fiber made from the flax plant, and is very durable. The winter will consist of the last photo a looser and longer sleeved robe, and the summer will be the viking apron dress. Now you might be thinking but these are Viking dresses, well yes you are right, but since there is little to no information on what the Cornish and Welsh were wearing at this time. This is our best guess, not only that they are flattering, functional, and I think that my girls will be happier!

There is something deeply touching about the layered look. Especially our summer look. The path of the Priestess though is one of power, is one of servitude. It is a modest path, that comes with hard work. These dresses (soon to be ritual robes) express this perfectly.

Goddess Prayer

A student of mine asked me to write her a daily devotional. Though the devotional is very specific (and I may end up posting it) I have written a daily prayer to go along with it. While I was writing it I noticed that it would be used by anyone in their daily practice and with any Goddess(or God for that matter)

Give me wisdom to see,
Those things that are baneful and harmful to me.
Grant me the strength to graciously accept,
The things that benefit my soul and make me adept.

Grand me knowledge, wisdom and sight,
So I will know the difference between the dark and light.

I ask that each day I be beautiful, patient and smart,
So that I can weave well my spells in this art.
Each day grant me compassion, kindness, and an open heart,
So with the rise of each sun I put forth a good start.

This is my devotion this is my plee,
and in return, I honor thee.

Avalon Rose Water

I have been silent for a while, I have been so busy with Henna, and Dance that I havent had time to sit and write out a blog. I seam to be out of the crazy rush of the spring now, so I have a few moments to blog. Though I havent had the time to really write, I have been busy crafting magic. One thing that I have been useing quite a bit in my personal rituals, and spell work is Rose water. 

Rose water is very easy to make. The rose water that I have been using though, is specific to Avalon. Red and White are the colors of Avalon, representing everything from the 2 sacred wells in Glastonbury, the apple, and red and white Dragons (Wales and the UK) These colors represent polarity, light and dark, death and life, up and down, etc. Since it is spring time and my Roses are in beautiful bloom I decided to harvest the Rose petals I needed straight from the garden.
I selected the Most beautiful red and white roses I could find. I gently separated their petals from the stem and rinsed them off. I then heated up some water and poured it over the rose petals. Covered and let sit for 24 hours. The next day I had wonderful Avalon Rose water! I have been using it for all sorts of things from cleansing, baths, and offerings. There is nothing like drops of rose water forming steam as it hits a red hot coal sending its essence into the other world.  

 *** If you want to keep the rose water you make unfortunately it doesn't last in its natural state. You can add a bit of 100 proof vodka to the mix and it will keep!

Super Moon Rite

As I was setting up for my Super Full Moon rite last night, Avalon called. I was going to work with the energies of the Solstice, but instead the cool mists parted and the Lady called. I journeyed to Avalon........

The diplomacy of a Priestess

I feel like I have neglected this blog for quite some time. I have been meaning to write, but life has gotten in the way. It was earlier today that a situation came up and opened the door for a blog.

The situation was in a group that I moderate, the topic "Animal Sacrifice" this is such a sticky subject, a practice that I personally don't subscribe to, and it is for no other reason that I just don't. I don't find the need to do it, and I have a hard time harming others animal or human. I have practiced blood magic, using my Moon blood or my own finger. I have used these in shadow work, and deep healing rituals. This can be a very potent and powerful practice.

A situation arose where the topic went from being a good healthy discussion to an attack on the original poster. This is when we as Priestess or even Priest need to put on our Priest/ess hats and do what we were trained to do, become the voice of reason. It doesn't matter what my personal beliefs are at this point. I don't need to make a point, and I am not threatened by this practice as it doesn't undermine my own. What matters is how the entire situation is treated. Attacking the poster based on my own beliefs does absolutely NO good. It does no good to the work I do as a Priestess, and it does no good to the actual poster. The path of the Priestess if one of higher calling. It is one of the "village elder" you don't see the elder out there quarreling with the people of the village. NO they are the voice of reason, the dispute settlers.

Unfortunately this is many times met with an unreasonable person. One who doesn't want to see reason, or believes that their beliefs or opinion are so much more important than another that they cant take a few moments to treat them like a human being and actually listen. Why not just say "I don't agree with your practice, but I still respect you" Why is this so hard a concept to grasp? We demand respect, but yet those very same people who demand it, refuse to give it. When this occurs many times the Priestess becomes the "bad guy" or worse yet can actually loose a friend. There is only so far a Priestess can go. She can not make the others see reason, just refuse to communicate with the unreasonable until they have decided to open their mind and heart. Respecting someones practice is much different that accepting ones practice, and that is still different than actually practicing it.

The path of the Priestess is not one of glamor, it is one of taking the high road, being the voice of reason, putting your own feelings aside for the good of the community or village. It sometimes means loosing a friend for the greater good. It sometimes breaks your heart. I was not called here to have a happy heart, and to skip through fields of flowers oblivious of turmoil. It requires immense strength, it requires wisdom, and above all it requires taking into account the greater good over the wants and needs of our own.

Let your practice speak for itself

One thing I have learned over the years as a healer, diviner, and Priestess is that the Goddess will bring the right people to your door step. When money is needed she brings the right client etc. When I feel like my practice or services are failing or not reaching enough people she provides opportunities for me to meet new people, and tell them who I am and what I do. Don't get me wrong I am not sitting at home just waiting for people to show up to my classes, sessions etc. I work on beautiful marketing material, networking, continuing my education and keeping my own practice strong.

Lately I have noticed a bit of a disturbing trend with other people who have similar practices as I do. The only way I can describe it is "student/client begging" Yes! you heard me right. I said begging, and by begging I really mean begging. Even if the phrases are worded friendly and inviting, it is still just begging. I am seeing people advertise in every social network, on every thread, on other peoples and other practioners pages and groups. This is incredibly rude. Infact it is such a turn off that I loose respect for said people, and am turned off by all their posts.

So there is a fine line between a gracious host, good marketing and the dreaded beggar. Lets look at the break down. As a Priestess, healer, diviner etc. You do need to have material out there on the web, and in print. People aren't going to know where to look or how to find you if you don't have it out there. So you set up a fan page, and events, and you invite people, you post some nice marketing material on your own page, and maybe even tag some people you know that have specifically expressed intrest. This is called good marketing, and is not annoying. You then work in ritual, meditation and prayer asking your Deity of choice to "Bring the right and good people to you" and "to bring prosperity to your business". I personally hate to call what I do a buisness, but for simplicity lets call it that. You then hold yourself out to the community as a pillar of goodness, and show those around you your good energy, success with clients, and actions of good will. Sometimes the best thing for your practice is to go and do something for free. There will come a time that you wont be able to do these things, because of the volume of clients/students you will have. So while you have down time, get out and read tarot for a fundraising event. Promote the community, and promote other practioners. They in turn will do the same for you. A good word from a stranger is far more lucritive than a bunch of self promoting nonsense. The most successful people I have met, I discovered by accident, or through someone telling me how wonderful a class, ritual or session was. They never shoved their information in my face, but welcomed me with open arms. As I watched their interactions with others I could see what type of person they were, and how successful they were. This is what made me come back for more, authenticity!

So that is all the good and positive ways to behave, what are the negative ways? Well here is when IMO it begins to cross the line. When you start to promote on groups that you didnt create, that are not promoting anyone elses material. When you being to hijack threads with advertisements of your classes, bombard conversations with your self promoting jargon. If you find yourself repeating the same or similar phrases over and over and over and over and over again. This is your sign to STOP and realise that what you are doing is 1) Not getting in to the heads of the people you are bombarding. You need to think why and 2) If you are advertising that much and those people are not showing up, maybe it is because they are so annoyed, and turned off by your pushy attitude. What does this really accomplish? Do you really think the Goddess wants you to be pushing yourself on to other people? Interrupting conversations to push your agenda? If the Universe wanted those people in your class I promise you they will be there. You are not a shark waiting for its prey, waiting, lurking ready to pounce on the first person that shows a sign of weakness. NO, NO you are NOT. Healers, priestess, facilitators of change are NOT predators. Period end of story.

So how do I get the word out about my pracitce or buisness? 1) I use social media to promote my classes, products etc. I am not worried who wont see them, I am only interested in the ones that do, because they are the seekers and it is THEM that I am here for. 2) I work on myself daily, the more I work on me, the better I can help others. 3) I trust that I will be there for the right people at the right time. This is not about me, this is about THEM. 4) I volunteer, I dont think I volunteer as much as I would like to. I write articles and submit them I never get paid. This is how, what I do reaches the masses and helps them. Remember its about THEM not you! If my words on a paper or computer screen start a positive reaction in someone, today or next year, I have done my work. I read tarot from time to time, for free, and I'll even give a healing session away for free now and then. 5) I arm myself with business cards. I place them on my table. Those that are interested in me, and what I do take them. 6) Above all, I do not spam people. If they are in need of what I do or are interested they will find me. 7) It is all about balance, so dont keep yourself a secret either. When I am new somewhere I tell everyone exactly who I am and what I do. It is short and simple. I have found that those people that are interested hear, and they come running to you. If you feel drawn to a particular person, this could be the Goddess giving you a nudge. Send them private personal message, give them your info and let them decide. Put your website up, hang a flier. Maybe ask the client you gave that free session, to hand out your cards in return for your work.

Remember success takes, time. Your success as a practitioner of any path is based on how others perceive you, from your work, your private life, online, etc. Begging for clients or students makes you seam desperate, pushy, and leaves one wondering why. Why does she have so much time to troll the nets looking for someone to push her product on? Why is she not already busy with clients and students? Lastly why does she have such a strong desire to push her practice on others?

Is it about money? As a healer, priestess, facilitator of change it better not be! YES you need to be compensated for your time, but this is a path of service. Not of "gaining money" Sorry to burst the bubble of anyone who might think that this is a romantic path filled with glory and wealth. Sorry it isn't. There is no money to be had here, but there are riches. The riches are helping the world be a better place, helping someone grow, change, heal. Helping someone go through any number of these changes is one of the most rewarding experiences ever, and NO price tag can ever be put on it.

And with that I will leave you with this quote......

Your work is not to drag the world kicking and screaming into a new awareness. Your job is to simply do your work..sacredly, secretly, and silently.. and those with eyes to see and ears to hear will respond