Spiritwork

A Call to Action

I want you to know that I hesitated to write this blog, Dear Reader.  I want you to know that I have been struggling with it all afternoon and have been turning it around and around in circles in my head because I was afraid of what you might think.  Afraid you might think I’m writing this for the fame, for the drama, because I’m paranoid, because I think I’m the ultimate witch.  But no.  I wouldn’t have written this at all if I hadn’t been called the fuck out by a deck of cards I used to ask Na Morrigna for clarification.  “What should I do?” I asked.  Do I really need to tell others about the working I’ve done?  Do I need to share my UPG?  It’s very, very, deeply, woo.  I had hoped the answer would be No, that They would tell me I’d done enough in bringing the situation to the attention of a few key groups and networks.  But, alas.  “You agreed to be our Priestess.” They said.  “You agreed to help organize the Warriors.” They said.  “So DO YOUR FUCKING JOB.”  I didn’t argue.  I wrote the blog. Here it is.

Today, I got a news alert from NPR.  That is not unusual.  The news alert said that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had missed a day of arguments.  That is unusual.  Very unusual.  It has never happened before in her entire career.  I immediately had a Bad Feeling, and while I initially thought it was a bad feeling of the usual sort, it remained seared into my brain until I had a quiet moment to check in with my gods and guides and as soon as I was paying attention, they roared DO SOMETHING.  This was not a normal feeling, this was not a normal occurrence – something beyond the mundane had happened.  So, as is my usual inclination, I first sought more information.  I did not have much time just then, so my first dive into trance was shallow, only enough to touch base a little deeper with my allies.  The message they had for me was fairly clear, though: banework had been thrown, likely by a group as a concerted effort, and not only at RBG, but also at Sotomayor and several members of Congress, particularly concentrating on a few newly-elected progressive women of color.  Na Morrigna were also waiting for me, and their message was brief: Activate your Networks.

So, I began to spread the message.  I posted the news article and suggestions or requests for curse-breaking, healing, and protective magical workings, in several different places.  Practice and study groups on facebook, on my witchy tumblrs, even a few private messages.  I kept it close to home, so to speak, within circles where people already know me, and are already more or less familiar with who I am and the work I do.  Some people responded back, and one in particular launched immediately into their own investigation and working, and then discussed with me at length the messages they were receiving – many of which confirmed my own.

My own working had to wait until I had enough time to focus, which did not occur until my toddler went down for a nap. (Ah yes, the joys of stay-at-home parenthood.)  I began with almost a dozen candles to various deities and spirits, including DC land spirits, the Potomac River, my ancestors, and the ancestors of those targeted, with pleas for help and aid.  I’m a devotional polytheist, and that’s where I usually begin.  Bast and Sekhmet as Eyes of Ra.  Be Chuille and Dinand, the sorceresses of the Tuatha De Danann.  The three Morrigna.  Apollo.  Athena Columbia, Elutheria, Dike, Nike.  I pledged, I pleaded, I offered, I cried.

And then I made myself comfortable on my couch, I set up my meditation music, and crossed into the Otherworlds.  I began, as I usually do, in the Waystation, my home in the Otherworlds.  There is a shrine in that space, a sanctuary in the middle of a sanctuary, where the being I call StarFlower, the Fairy Queen to whom I am bound, does workings Over There.  She joined her powers to what I had begun, and replicated the candles I lit to increase the strength of their call.  She also created protection spell candles for those most severely affected by the baneworking, and stuck them in her eternal flame, to keep them ever-burning until such a time as they are no longer necessary.

Then, we spoke to her mother, Be Chuille, and asked what she could do.  As we have done before on a smaller scale, Be Chuille used my body – my human, incarnated body – as an anchor in time and space, to help Her move more easily to where work needed to be done.  And then move She did: bindings and banework turned to vines in Her hand and then withered, died, and became the damp detritus of the forest floor.  This fed the land spirits, who rose to Her call and ate away larger vines wrapped around buildings, and I came to understand how it had been cast.  The casters knew where the targets would be (the Supreme Court, the Capitol Building) and cast it there to wait to ensnare the targets when they came by.  But I watched Be Chuille remove vines from children, spouses, family members, and supporters as well as representatives – the traps had been set wide and imprecise.  (I wondered, then, if that was a side effect of people casting magic with prayer and intent but without the full knowledge of what they are doing.)  There were so many baneful ropes, though, and Be Chuille was more focused on removing them from those who had not been directly targeted.

Dinand arrived, then, speaking to the spirit I know as the Lady of the Potomac River, a land spirit I consider to be a local goddess. They discussed the need for a storm, for precipitation to help wash the leftover energy away, and to dissolve any that remained after being removed.  When I was back to myself later, I shared that with a fellow practitioner who has a close relationship with Gwyn Ap Nudd and His Wild Hunt, especially as they relate to storms, and they agreed to talk to Him.  I was told that Gwyn agreed there was a need for a cleansing storm, and He reiterated a need for human practitioners to do work alongside His own, to tip the balance.

StarFlower collected me again then, and she began working more deeply on RBG, Sotomayor, Deb Haaland, Sharice Davids, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Kyrsten Sinema, and perhaps others.  I assisted as she disentangled banework from blessing, and drew the banework out, allowing the blessings to move closer to their skin.  She snipped the fine threads of banework – my brain supplied the visualization of a scissors – working methodically until she had removed as much as she could easily find.  I got the sense that time was distorted – as long as human practitioners do their work in the next few days, we will all be working side-by-side, at the same “time” and in the same “place”.  As she worked she began to shine more and more brightly, until she finished and then blossomed into the star that is the reason for the use-name I know her by.  What stars do is their own business, but it seemed she was still working on cleansing, just on a grander scale.  Dispelling the Glamours Gwendolyn Reece discusses, perhaps.  Things distorted beyond my ability to easily recount what I witnessed before she returned to her more normal size and shape.

After that I was handed over to Na Morrigna, as has lately been my position, and They transformed me into one corvid in a flock, swirling in the air, towards I knew not what, at first.  When we arrived, however, it became more clear.  I saw something that had a humanoid shape and glowed uncannily, and yet seemed not to be a natural being – it felt more like clockwork, like an android, like a computer program.  I can only imagine it to have been something like an egregore, yet those are somewhat outside my realm of expertise.  Whatever it was, however, it is no more.  Na Morrigna gave a battle cry, and we all descended upon it.  Corvids, carrion birds, and birds of prey clawed and pecked, while wolves and other four-legged creatures tore with claws and teeth, and the thing was destroyed.  Many of the spirit-creatures then ate of the flesh of the thing, which fell into the shape of a horse once mortally wounded.  Once they had their fill, the remaining flesh melted into slimy water, now fertility for the soil.  I returned to the Waystation, and then I returned to myself, on my couch, my head reeling.

Food became necessary, but was not nearly enough to ground me.  My toddler awoke and that helped to focus me some, and when my husband returned home, he assisted more, but I still felt the pull of unfinished business… until I sat down, riffled my cards, and asked the Morrigna if I had done enough, if I really needed to do more.

And the answer to that, of course, is at the top of this post.

Consider this your call to action.  Do what you can, be it curse-breaking, healing, protection, storm-calling, or simply lighting a candle and praying for divine assistance.  If you have a favorite deity of justice or healing, go to them.  If not, ask assistance of the one in your favorite pantheon, or turn to someone I mentioned above.  Do what you can, and do it now.

Event, Spiritwork

Witches’ Sabbat: Meeting the White Lady

I have been trying to write this for more than a month, now, but every time I do, I hesitate. I am uncertain how much of the story is truly mine to tell. Today I am trying something new: I have asked the White Lady herself to join me, to watch what I write over my shoulder, and to tell me when things must be struck from the record. So here is the story, somewhat abridged. But first, a warning: be careful, witches, when you consort with the Fair Folk, for you may have wondrous experiences, yet be unable to tell the full story to another living soul.

This is the story of how I came to meet one of the Gentry in the woods in Canada, this past Memorial Day Weekend. As I have said in previous blogs, I was there attending The Witches Sabbat at Raven’s Knoll, near Ottawa. Our weekend centered on fairylore, especially Fairy Queens and the Wild Hunt, and as part of my personal work, I wished to meet the Locals, whoever would consent to meet me. To that end, I spent a free part of an afternoon wandering the area, looking for a sign.

Near the Birch Grove, I saw two mourning doves, who turned to look at me, and a chill went down my spine. I knew, somehow, that these were my heralds, come to lead me to the place I was seeking. And so I followed them, as they flew always a small way ahead of me, in a large anti-clockwise circle, and then they cooed at me and flew together over a clearing ahead of me, and then into the treetops and were gone. I entered the clearing, uncertain of what the next step would be, when I saw in front of me, dead in the center of the clearing, a bright blue damselfly sunning itself on a rock. I approached it, and it, too, flew in a circle, clockwise this time, before stopping almost exactly where it was before. It seemed to be waiting, so I poured a tiny bit of the mead I had brought as an offering, and when I got up from doing so, I noticed a trail leading out of the clearing. I walked in that direction, and it did not continue very far, but as it was disappearing, I came across a small hillock of some variety, and there perched on it was yet another damselfly, this one dark blue, and the hillock was surrounded by blooming wild strawberry vines.

On that hillock, I poured out the mead I had brought, and I sat and let my awareness open. While I sat there, I became aware that I needed to uncover my head, and that more than the mead was required in offering – whoever had agreed to meet me wanted a blood offering. I might have refused, but as I was suddenly swarmed by mosquitoes (who just as suddenly left), it was not a negotiable point. Blood was given. A clay-colored sparrow buzzed loudly. And I was allowed to See. My vision shifted, another scene began to overlay the hillock in the afternoon sun, and I slowly found myself in journey space.

I was standing, dressed in formal clothing in a wooden building, some type of outpost hall. In front of me stood two beings, drinking glasses of the mead I had poured out earlier. At first, they were both somewhat shrouded from me, cloaked in glamours, until I introduced myself and explained my purpose. A second call from the sparrow signaled an understanding and acceptance, and the glamours dropped from the being closest to me. Revealed, now, I could see she was tall, and very pale, with a sharpness to her features that spoke both of her otherworldliness and her viciousness. Her hair was long, straight, and white-blonde, and her clothing was also white, and seemed to glow. Describing it now, the words sound like Galadriel, but no. Her postures were active, dynamic, almost predatory, and certainly powerfully confident – nothing like the serene and benevolent Lady of Lothlorien. She was cold, not golden, and her white was more like the white of birch trees and of snow, though it did not seem to me that she had a seasonal alignment, like some others I have met. She told me something I did not understand, in response to my attempting to mentally categorize her, and when my confusion showed, she laughed and told me to attend Erik Lacharity’s workshop on French Canadian fairylore. Later, I learned that the almost-Scandinavian vibe I had been trying to categorize was partially right – whatever type of being she was, she hailed from Normandy (either originally or by heritage), and others like her were known in the lore of immigrants from Normandy that had settled in the area.

The other figure, still shrouded from me, was her consort, as I began to understand. The White Lady did not wish outsiders to look upon her consort, in order to keep the consort safe. I cannot give any defining characteristics of this being, save that the consort is part of the reason for the long version of the name of Raven’s Knoll campground. Having met and introduced myself to the White Lady, and learned what I could of her, I then asked if I was free to take my leave. The sparrow called once more in response, and I rose to go, leaving for my campsite taking a more direct route than I had when arriving.

On Saturday, during a break, I went down to the river to talk to the Lady Bonnechere, whom we had selected as our Fairy Queen for the ritual, and I spent a few minutes talking with both her and the White Lady. It seemed that the White Lady was a client of the River, the sovereign of a small territory beneath the Bonnechere’s domain. I attempted to share our plans for the ritual, for approval, and was given some insight that I took back to the group.

During the ritual itself that night, I spent much of the time talking to the White Lady as we walked anti-clockwise around the fire, telling her of my personal practice, painting a picture of my local community in large brush strokes, and other such things. I am certain there is much of that conversation I have forgotten, but the feeling of the conversation will stay with me. I do think I have made a new but lasting contact among the Gentry, and I find that even here, hours by car to the south of where I met her, I can still feel her presence when I wish to communicate with her. I am glad to have met her.

Spiritwork, Uncategorized

It has been a while…

…since last I posted, and there are probably things I ought to catch up on (my Wep Ronpet, for one) but for today I am stopping in to write up something a bit more time sensitive: my first Unseelie Weather Report for the year.

Once again I went to see the Morrigna to ask them about the baton pass this equinox, and for the general themes of the coming autumn and winter.  What I was shown, briefly, is that the baton pass will go smoothly, but then the power transfer will cause an explosion of sorts, with the more feral types and the Wild Hunt(s) racing across the skies. It’s likely to be sensed as turbulence by sensitives, and may cause storms: thunderstorms, maybe even tornados and hurricanes. There may also be political “storms” (as above so below).  I did not see the blanket of snow this year, though – I was instead shown ice. Ice storms, freezing rain, hail, sleet – less visually arresting than huge piles of snow, perhaps, but just as dangerous.

Be careful, everyone. Stick together, watch your footing, and try not to slip on the ice.

Other Updates, Spiritwork

Discernment

This past weekend, Glasreo and I attended an informal pagan discussion hosted by the Fellowship Beyond the Star, on the topic of discernment.  It was a very fruitful discussion, starting with general definitions and then branching off into individual stories of encounters and omens and general spirit work and work with deities.  It was fun to hear other people’s stories, and helpful for all of us to have others’ insight into our experiences.  In general, the discussion of discernment hinged on a couple of key points:

  1. Ruling out mundane causes.  This is a big one.  Sometimes a flock of crows is just a flock of crows, sometimes candles fall over, sometimes your air vents cause incense smoke to move a certain way.  Chances are, if it’s something pretty normal or totally plausible, it’s not a sign of something more.  It’s a good idea to learn as much about the science of whatever you’re working with as possible, and to get to know your environment.  Seeing a heron isn’t unusual if you’re near a body of water – but you might think it is unusual if you don’t know that there’s water nearby!  However, it’s important to know that you can’t ever rule out mundane causes 100%.  What you should aim to do is figure out whether what you’ve witnessed is unusual or common.  Unusual things may just be an omen!  This also applies to trancework: if you’re doing journeywork or astral travelling or something like that, and you aren’t sure whether what you’re experiencing is something you made up or insight you’re receiving, ask yourself whether the patterns are unusual  or common.  If you were going to daydream about the topic, is this what you would probably come up with?  Does everything seem expected, do you feel like it’s all something you’ve already known?  Then you’re likely to still be inside your imagination.  If something unexpected occurs or doesn’t go the way you’re trying to create it, that’s probably coming from somewhere outside yourself.
  2. Trusting one’s intuition.  At some point after you’ve examined the possibility of mundane causes, you need to think about how you feel, in general.  Sometimes a very common thing can be an omen anyway because it’s what you needed, or because the timing was exactly perfect.  If you feel strongly that it’s an omen, or that you’re receiving insight from outside yourself, and it’s not just wishful thinking, you probably are.  Learning to tell wishful thinking from truth requires a lot of practice evaluating your own thoughts and that can be hard, but the self-awareness that comes with that struggle is very much worth the end result.  You’ll learn to trust your intuition and in doing so, trust yourself and your experiences.  It can really deepen your practice to not be second-guessing yourself constantly.
  3. Using lore as a guideline.  Lore is really useful if you’re getting messages from deities or other lore-known spirits.  You can look up their animal associations, get a sense of their looks or personality, or other things and check those details against the information you’re getting.  Lining up 100% isn’t required for you to be correct, but nothing should be huge and glaringly contradictory.  Blonde vs brunette is probably fine; mountain associations instead of lake associations might be a bit too far.
  4. Using divination to double check the message. If you can, it’s always a good idea to do divination or to ask someone else to do divination for you and ask “Am I seeing things clearly?” or “Is the message coming from X deity?” or, “Am I really supposed to do Y thing?” to double check that you’re getting the message from who you think you are, and that it’s trying to tell you what you think it is.  Divination can also be helpful if the message is clear but vague: you can ask how or when, and get more information.  Be careful if you’re divining for yourself, though, that you’re not falling victim to wishful thinking (yep, there’s that little gremlin again).
  5. Asking for further signs or repetition.  One of the best ways to figure out if you’re really getting messages from spirits when they’re jumbled and unclear is to ask for some kind of unusual, specific sign.  Don’t make it something impossible, but make sure that it really is something unusual, that you’ll notice and pick up on.  You can ask for a certain number of something like birds, or ask to see a specific animal on your drive to work, or something like that.  It might be a good idea to give it a deadline, too, so that you’re not waiting forever and wondering if the answer is just “no”.  Repetition, whether you asked for it or not, can also be an indication that something is really a message.  Maybe there’s a cardinal nesting near your house, so seeing that one isn’t unusual, but throughout the day you see another 5 or 6 cardinals all over the city and there are pictures of cardinals indoors as well – if you feel like you’re being stalked by something, it may very well be a sign!
  6. Journaling.  One of the best things you can do when you receive a message or something you think might be a message or just witness something really unusual is to write it down!  Maybe it was a message, but it will only make sense after the fact.  Maybe the message is in the repetition, but until you write it down you don’t realize that you only really ever see crows on Wednesdays.  Even if you are sure it’s a message and you know who it’s from and what it means, it’s still a good idea to record it, since a lot of the messages will make even more sense with time.  That was you can also keep track of how different spirits and deities usually approach you with new messages, too, and it can help you figure out if things are messages or not much more quickly!

Hopefully this all makes sense to you, and maybe it’ll even help some of you – it certainly helped me to discuss it and write it all out!

Reiki, Spiritwork

Reiki Adventures

Glasreo and I have been doing a bit more reiki recently, both for clients and bartering with friends.  I’ve noticed that I’m getting better at paying attention to the client’s gods and guides, now, even when they don’t have a specific message, which is good.  Previously I mostly noticed them when they were trying to get my attention!  I’ve been practicing shifting focuses in and out a bit and it does help with my awareness and visualization.  I’ve also been improving my work on physical ailments – helped in no small part by a new anatomy book we picked up, which is refreshing my memory of high school Anatomy/Physiology!

On Glasreo’s part, he’s finding it a bit easier to work with client’s energy centers, and that is helping him find less obvious blockages.  He’s solidified a few new relationships with spirit helpers, including a lava elemental that has been very helpfully eating things we pull out of people.  The crystal spirits are taking a more active role, as well – Glasreo is now making crystal grids intuitively based on each client’s needs, instead of more general grids to help with reiki flow and broad healing.

We’ve been pretty in tune as we work together on clients as well, seeing a lot of the same issues and problems, but being guided to work on different aspects so that our work complements each other.  So far we’re still using the chair-in-the-living-room method, but as our sessions have been 45 minutes or shorter that’s working out fine.  Hopefully before too long we’ll be able to save up for a traveling massage table.

[[If you feel like helping that cause, please contact us to set up an appointment, or visit our etsy shop!]]

Spiritwork

Seasonal Depression: Working with an Evergreen Spirit

I (Réaltán) suffer from seasonal depression (AKA Seasonal Affective Disorder).  It makes keeping my energy up, both physically and magically, much harder in the late fall and winter, as my natural inclination is something like hibernation between Samhain and Imbolc, approximately.  Part of this is probably due to my spring fae nature (about which I will no doubt have to make a post eventually), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t do anything about it.  I just am not sure how to.

Or, rather – was not sure.  But then I had what seems to be an absolutely genius idea (though I’m no doubt reinventing the wheel): talk to an Evergreen spirit!

I have something of an affinity for plants, and I frequently use plants and herbs in my general craft, but I have not spoken to the spirits of plants much to do anything more than what they are prescribed for in herbalism, or associated with in magical symbolism.  This is my first major relationship with a plant spirit, and so far I’ve done a handful of hedgecrossings (aka journeys, tranceworkings, astral travels) to go meet and talk with who I have identified as Black Spruce.  In my talks with him, he has given me the following tidbits of advice, which I will share here in case anyone else can benefit from his wisdom as they deal with their own challenges, this dark half of the year.

  1. Slow your blood.  Slow down, but not as far as deciduous trees – don’t completely fold inside yourself and hibernate.  At the same time, however, don’t try to be as quick as you were in the spring. Now is not the time for rapid growth.  Don’t force yourself to get everything done by trying to move at breakneck speeds – you will fail.  So slow down a little. Decide what’s really important and focus on that.  Don’t worry about things undone, just do whatever you have the energy and strength to do without overtaxing yourself.  It will be enough.
  2. Wax your leaves.  Insulate your energies from the cold of winter, and make sure to stay warm physically as well.  Adjust your shields – keep out the wind of other people’s negative energy and the ice of their judgment.  Other trees lose their leaves because they are thin, fragile, and easily damaged by frost.  Not spruce needles!  They are hard and waxy, durable and insulated, but they still let sunlight through, which is important!
  3. Take in as much light as you can.  Light is important, whether it’s sunlight (bask in it each afternoon for a few moments), the light of your truth (remember to make time for self-care and things you enjoy), or the light of love (spend plenty of time with loved ones). Don’t let your shielding keep the warmth out.
  4. Take care of your roots.  Make sure to ground, ground, ground – and center.  Physically, keep your feet warm, your whole self warm and as comfortable as possible.  Make sure to keep your legs and feet strong and in good health – wear shoes with good support, and make sure they’re waterproof!  Personally, I need to work on my flexibility some, as my tight hamstrings contribute to my chronic shoulder pain, transferring tension up my spine.
  5. Stand tall.  Winter might make you want to curl into a little ball, but it’s important to maintain good posture.  Stay balanced.  Also, stick up for yourself.  It can be harder to live your truth and ignore naysayers when you’re already feeling a little down, but it’s a very important time to make sure you stay upright.  If you begin to bend under the weight of pressure now, by springtime you will find it hard to grow straight again.  Better to keep your balance now.
  6. Spruce is good medicine.  Spruce tips are a good remedy for many winter ailments.  The new growth tips are an excellent source of vitamin C, and a hot tea made from these tips can also ease many symptoms of upper respiratory infections like the common cold, including congestion, runny nose, and coughs.  Winter is an important time to use whatever healing modalities you know, whether that means herbalism, reiki, or zero-blancing.  Be your own remedy.

Hopefully these ideas will reach those who need to hear them.  And I highly recommend seeking an Evergreen spirit to guide you if this sort of work sounds like a path you need to go down.  I am very much enjoying my work with Black Spruce, and after I mentioned this to a friend of mine, she met a Balsam Fir and is now doing some very important work with him.  His messages have been similar to Black Spruce’s – he also stressed the importance of slowing down, which is probably the most important message out of all of the above.

~Réaltán~