Category Archives: RITUALS & PASSAGES

Grounding and Centering

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay 

For years I read and listened to the accounts of successful people who begin every day by collecting their thoughts, setting intentions, and mentally preparing for the day ahead. Nice luxury, I thought.

Recently, I decided to give it a go. I took a thirty day challenge to ground and center every morning, first thing, no excuses.

I knew if a daily practice was going to work for me, it had to be meaningful, not rote. To that end, it could be as long and elaborate as I liked; I work from home, my children are long since grown, and gone and my spouse is self-sufficient.

On the other hand, I was certain if it was too elaborate, I’d be tempted to skip it on busy mornings—like the day I was scheduled for lab work before 8 a.m. at a clinic 40 miles from my home.

Sunrise is my time of day, whether I’m up and about in the wee hours, or still lying in bed when dawn breaks, that first ray of sun cutting across the room, coming to rest on a table or dresser, awakens me.

“Light of the world, a new day dawns. Renew my spirit, awaken me.”

Those words became the first line of my morning prayer that begins my daily devotion. The prayer includes setting an intention for directing the energy I give and receive “this day” to a higher purpose and greater good. I follow with my grounding and centering cued to these words:

“Mother earth, supporting me, Father Sky, lifting me, Grandfather Sun, igniting my spirit, Grandmother Moon, lighting my compassion, guide me on my journey.”

As I speak the words, facing the sunrise, I ground my energy to the earth and extend it to the upper world (heavens, deity or higher self—as you believe). I then spread my arms outward, centering the energy in my heart. I finish by folding my hands at my heart and bowing my head. Standing in the prayerful position, I finish with my gratitude to the Creator.

Short and sweet, completed in a few minutes, and quite rote despite what I’d intended—not unlike the prayers I learned as a parochial school girl, rattled off in church every week. Yet, there are significant differences. The words of my devotion are my own and heartfelt, I am deliberately present as I speak them (in a way I wasn’t as a school child), and the memorized recitation is a mere warm-up to the real meat of my daily devotions, that being 20-minutes or more of meditation.

Busy days crowded their way into my month, more mornings that I had to be out the door and on the run early. I let the meditation slip some days, or fit it in later in the evening, but I never missed the brief, memorized prayers. It turns out, those moments of grounding and centering were what made the difference in my days.

Yes, the prayers are a preamble, enhancing what immediately follows, but the simple words, the deliberate connections, support me throughout the day. Going through the motions, speaking the words, creates a memory, a touchstone in my body and mind. In difficult moments I can call on the energy to remain grounded, centered and balanced. But even when I’m not consciously aware, the energy is there, within me.

There are numerous methods for grounding and centering, including mundane, magical, and religious. For the simplest approach, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, close your eyes and relax your breathing. Scan your body for any areas of tension, take a deep breath and release the tension on the exhale. Repeat until your body is completely relaxed.

Call to mind a calming image—it can be anything that makes you feel peaceful. Focus on the image and your breath, allowing the weight of your body to sink. Feel your feet on the floor, your thighs and back against the chair supporting you. Then imagine a beam of white, or pale violet light extending from the crown of your head. The light energy flows both ways, reaching up to the higher realm and coming back to you.

Next imagine drawing up energy from the earth, while drawing down from the upper world. Envision these meeting near your heart, then expanding out in every direction. With each inhale, see the light glowing and growing until it surrounds you, like a sphere. Imagine this light sphere in the center of body, mind and spirit, made visible and drawn out to encompass you, almost as a force field.

Image by LillyCantabile from Pixabay 

When you are finished, see the light growing smaller, until it becomes a tiny orb, nestled between your heart and solar plexus. Take three deep breaths and open your eyes.

You can envision any color you choose for your light. White contains all colors, and is also associated with cleansing and purifying. A warm yellow or golden light is healing. Explore chakra energy centers and colors for more about working with the energy meridians of your body.

Try starting your day off with your own, simple grounding and centering ritual.


Simple Ritual

As I move further along in my journey of  aging, along my path to becoming Crone, I notice that my life is less and less compartmentalized. Every aspect informs every other aspect. This doesn’t feel like an energy of diminishment, or downsizing. It feels like expansion, like the dissolving of walls, the removal of masks. It feels like integration and simplification, like becoming the one true self.

I haven’t exactly made my spiritual practice these past years a secret, but I also didn’t wear it like a tattoo. I’m still doing neither, but I am acknowledging it as a part of my complete picture. In case you’re wondering what my practice might all involve, this short video that came across my social media feed is close, although a little heavy on the ritual side even for this old Catholic girl raised in the rites and regalia of the Roman Church.

My spiritual practice is a connection to the Divine, whether called by Great Sprit, God, Goddess, Yahweh, Allah or the many names one may choose from. It is a partnership with the natural world and laws of nature that contain me in this life. It is a reverence for the existence of the Divine signature in all living things, especially humanity. It’s an ongoing endeavor to rise above ego and seek the greater good.

You can call me a witch, I won’t be offended, but I hesitate to call myself that. I’m not what you see in pop culture portrayals. Neither am I an epitome of evil, caught in satan’s grasp as most religions would have you believe. I am not Wiccan—which is a recognized religion. The saying goes: All Wiccan’s are witches, but not all witches are Wiccan. It means we don’t all practice as religion.

I like to keep it that simple. I know all the magic, how to use the props, how to conduct a high ritual—I am in fact an initiated Priestess. But don’t need any of that. I can just as easily go to the forest, or the shore or hillside and open my heart, mind and soul to the messages that will come. I can sit at my kitchen table, light a candle and listen.

I can do this, because I have learned the more intricate ways, because I have sought out spiritual knowledge on many levels, because I have done this since I was that child in Catholic school, and then that young adult who wanted to know more about other faiths, and that mature woman who wondered how and why the feminine aspect of divinity was lost. In my searching I found the common threads woven through all faith beliefs.

And now the lines that separated it all into this or that religion are dissolving and it is simply faith. Faith that there is something bigger than me, bigger than humanity, bigger than this life. It doesn’t matter what I call it or how I aspire to connect with it because when I do, when any of us does, we are woke to the knowledge that God and Love are one and the same.

But I am not through learning. I will not be through learning until this life is done, and I suspect not even then. To be a witch is

  • To Know
  • To Will
  • To Dare
  • To Keep Silent*

Blessed Be and Journey Well

A Simple Samhain Ritual

*In times and places of persecution to keep silent is for protection. But it also means to refrain from arrogance, to keep your own counsel, and most importantly, never to proselytize.

Visit My Patreon Site
where you’ll find a plethora of simple witchcrafting including a full, step-by-step Samhain Ritual for members. There’s free stuff too!

If Patreon isn’t for you, visit Simple Witchery group page on Facebook
and ask to join.


Casting A Circle for Ritual

candle-3133631_640 (1)

In your practice of witchcraft, you will often want to cast a circle for ritual, to create a safe space for your craftwork, and sometimes for meditation. As you learn and grow as a witch, you will become more adept, and tweak your circle casting to your liking.

After years of practice, I can cast a circle in mere seconds simply though focused thought.

Let me explain. In Yoga, you learn a technique of breathing your mind and body into relaxation. After some time at practice, simply beginning the breath will trigger the relaxation response. Likewise, when meditating, the place you meditate, the position you take, lighting a candle, playing music—anything you do every time you meditate, signals your body to slip into that calm state.

Because I have cast so many circles I can now create the energy of a protective circle with nothing but thought and focused intention. If I find myself in a situation where I need an especially protective boundary, I can cast one quickly and virtually silently.

Below is an example for casting the circle, followed by an outline of steps for ritual preparation, though circle casting, magical working, to ending with the opening of the circle and releasing energy. 

CIRCLE CASTING

Stand before your altar, indoors or outdoors. Envision that you and your altar are the center of a circle. Begin by facing North and call the elements one at a time in deosil. As your practice grows, you should be able to do this extemporaneously, guided by what you are feeling at the time and the purpose of your ritual or other work. As you call each element, face in that direction and hold your arms up and out. If you use a ritual athame, hold it in both hands and point the blade in the direction of the element as you call.

(Face North) Hail North, element of Earth, energies of the physical world, of all living things, of grounding, foundations, security, and stability. I call upon Gaia, nurturing Mother. Attend my rites.

(Face East) Hail East, element of Air, energies of thought, intellect, ideas and inspiration, the breath of life. I call upon Air. Attend my rites.

(Face South) Hail South, element of Fire, energies of passion, courage and action, the fire of might and transformation. I call upon Fire. Attend my rites.

(Face West) Hail West, element of Water, energies of all emotion, of love and hate, of compassion and fortitude, of bravery and fear. I call upon flowing water that washes me clean and quenches my thirst. I call upon Water. Attend my rites.

*You may light a candle at each direction before you call each, to light their way. Again, this is not necessary. You could also place a crystal at each directional point and in the center. You can cast a circle with absolutely nothing but yourself. You can sit in a cast circle with a single candle, and communicate with your guides. Choose what enhances your rites for you, and what feels right at the time.

Above me, below me, before me, behind me, around me like sphere the circle is cast. (Face your altar) This sacred circle is cast in a place between worlds. May all who enter come in love and trust to aid me (us) in my (our) workings, and may the boundary protect all those within from any who would bring harm or ill intent.

*If you practice with deity or spirit ~ I call (fill in identifier) into the circle (add any qualities or aspects). Example: I call Great Spirit, the creator of all things into my circle. (etc.).

*If you are going to be working with a specific deity for any of your rites, you would call to them at this point, in the same manner, naming them and acknowledging their aspects, especially the aspects you are seeking in your magic, such as protection, strength, compassion, etc. Example: Hail Hekate, guardian of the triple crossroad, I call you into the circle and ask for your wise guidance in my workings, for you see all worlds and all times.

After you have cast the boundary of the circle and called in those you wish to attend, proceed to offering of libations. Hold up the cup with drink. You can offer a portion to Spirit, a deity, or simply to the universal collective or higher self. I offer this drink to (fill in). May none thirst. Then drink from the cup yourself. If you are in circle with others, pass the cup (deosil) and say, May you never thirst. They drink and do the same. When all have partaken, pour any remaining drink onto the ground, into the fire (or if indoors an offering dish).

Repeat the process with the food. Hold it up and say, I offer this food to (fill in). May none hunger. Partake for yourself and pass to others, saying may you never hunger. Give any remaining food to the ground, fire or offering dish. If using an offering dish, it should be placed outdoors after ritual.

When you have completed the offerings, move onto any craft work, meditation, communicating with Spirit, deity, guides – drumming, dancing, however you choose to honor the purpose of your ritual.  Though ritual and rites are two words often interchanged, I feel that ritual is all of it, from preparation through feasting—and the rites refer to the specific workings done while in circle.

Along with creating a protective boundary, the circle also serves the purpose of containing the energy of the magic you work, the energy of your intention. You can you sound and movement to raise that energy to higher levels, waling or dancing around the circle, singing, clapping, drumming, spinning (don’t get dizzy).

When your ritual, craft workings and raising energy are complete, open the circle in the reverse order that it was cast. First bid farewell to any specific spirits/deities you called up, then to God/dess. Bid farewell to the elements from Water to Earth, in widdershins direction (counter clockwise). If you lit candles blow each one out, one at time, after you bid farewell.

Farewell (deity/spirits) and all beings who entered the circle and joined in my (our), rites. I (we) thank you for your presence. Blessed be and journey well.

Farewell West, element of water. Thank you for your energy of purification, fluid movement, quenching and hydrating (add general energies that apply, especially those specific to the ritual). Blessed be and journey well.

Repeat for the remaining directions/elements.

If others have joined you for ritual, you can join hands before saying ~

Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again. The circle is open but never unbroken.

Whether holding hands or alone, raise your hands up swiftly toward the sky, releasing the energy and magic that was contained in the circle, out to the universe to do it’s work. A little vocalizing never hurts, do what you feel—shout, sing, try making a unique tribal call!  If this isn’t coming easy, start with Magic, do your work!

Ritual work can leave you feeling spacey, even a bit shakey. Proceed to feasting to ground and center. You can also, literally, touch the ground with your palms and visualize absorbing Mother Earth’s grounding energy.

THE OUTLINE

Preparation:

    • Gather all altar supplies, tools and offerings.
    • Supplies and tools should be cleaned and consecrated to your work. Ideally, your tools are most often in this state and ready to be used. Read about cleaning, consecrating, and charging tools here.
    • Self purification. A ritual bath or other cleansing method.
    • Set up your altar using representations for elements, spirit/deity, candles, etc.

Cleanse and Consecrate Your Space:

This can be done with herbal smudging, incense, or sacred water. Read about making your own pagan holy water here. Circle around in a deosil direction (clockwise movement), allowing the smoke or sprinkling the water in a boundary around the circle. You may want to speak words of clearing and blessing, such as. “I clear this space and these tools of all negative energy and bless them for my sacred work.”

Clothing:

Ritual garb is an individual choice. Wear whatever feels appropriate, but having special garments only for ritual (a simple gown or robe) for ritual adds to setting the energy. After you have prepared yourself, prepare your space and altar. It is not true that ritual must be performed sky-clad (nude). Do so if you’re comfortable, don’t worry about it if not.

Altar:

Your altar can be quite simple, with a representation for the four elemental energies—Earth, Air, Water, Fire. This is important, the essence of witchcraft is understanding and working with nature, and is governed by the laws of nature and the laws of physics. (For deeper research, look into string theory and witchcraft).

If you practice with deity or the premise of an all powerful Spirit, you should have a representation of that present. It can be a printed image, a figurine or statue—it can be a rock you have consecrated to hold the energy of your deity.

Cast the Circle:

      • Call directions/elements
      • Call deity or other entities as per your beliefs and purpose of your working.

Honoring:

    • Speak to the purpose of the ritual (A sabbat, a special honoring or request, etc)
    • Honor the energies/deities/others
    • Express gratitude for all that has been given
    • Ask for what you want (if nothing specific, ask for continued blessings and guidance on your path)

Offering:

Offering ale and cakes, or libation. This can be any beverage and bite of food you desire. It can be a deity’s favorite, it can be your favorite shared with deity. It can be the same thing every time if that’s what you want—wine and bread, milk and cookies, water and fruit . . .

Spells/Workings:

Any special crafting or workings, such as making a seasonal corn dolly, mixing up an elixir, creating a spell jar, or simply putting your crystals or other tools in the circle for consecrating to a specific purpose (protection, abundance, etc). You can use this time to communicate with your guides or deity (just listening counts). You can sing, dance, drum, pantomime, recite verse. This is the time to honor your craft and all the workings thereof.

Give Thanks and Open the Circle:

Give thanks to all beings and energies called into the circle. Do this in the reverse order that they were welcomed – God/Goddess, other deities and beings, elements/directions.

Grounding:

It is best practice to ground after holding ritual rites or participating in them. This is easily done with physical movement, and food and drink. Thus, the traditional feasting after opening the circle.

 


Sunday Morning Coming Down

camera-514992_640It’s Sunday. The house is quiet in these early morning hours. I’m tucked away in my she-room, sipping fresh coffee. In summer, when the sun rises early enough to angle through the small window, it falls across the corner of the antique maple dresser I stripped down to the wood and then hand-rubbed with tung oil to reveal the grain.

The sun beam catches the glass of the framed mirror above the small chest of drawers and the room glows with the sweet promise of the season. Whispers fill my inner ear, I’ll bring you fragrant bouquets of roses and peonies. We’ll share lazy afternoons on the two-seater porch swing, and long nights tangled in the sheets when your body glistens from the heat of my touch. 

Oh, lover Summer, be still my heart.

Meanwhile, a friend shares a photo of her morning coffee at a sidewalk cafe in Paris and I feel a pang of envy for the life that got away.

I thought I’d journey to foreign places at this juncture in my life. I thought I’d sip coffee in a Paris Cafe, eat pasta alla Norma and visit the La Pescheria Market in Sicily, dip my toes in the Mediterranean, and drink Ouzo in Greece.

Alas, my husband’s health makes it extremely difficult to travel, and the stress of it when we do only worsens his conditions. He worries about getting where we need to be when we need to be there, with all the medical paraphernalia in tow and on board. But his concerns are that of a general running a campaign. I am the foot soldier with boots on the ground, carrying out the mission—and all the bags.

My travels worries are different. The possibility of a sudden crisis, even death, is something I live with every day. At home, or anywhere within the borders of the continental U.S., I know what to do.

With overseas travel, the thought of navigating unfamiliar territory and being unable to speak the language in an emergency makes it quite a different prospect. I worry about hospitals and transports if his heart, his burdened lungs, and his blood sugar all conspire to attack, deflate, and spike or plummet at the same time. I worry about simply getting us both back home if he dies.

Even when I imagine the best possible outcomes, I still see barriers everywhere. He won’t be walking along the ocean’s edge with me, strolling the maze of cobbled streets in historic cities, or climbing the stone steps of seaside villages, ancient ruins, or soaring cathedrals.

oia-416135_640

It seems rather a lot of work, worry and expense just for me to spend most of my time in hotel rooms and sidewalk cafes, even if they are quintessentially European. Sure, I may be able to savor an authentic croissant with my French Coffee or wash down a plate of good Italian pasta with a goblet of chianti, but is it really worth all that?

The heart wants what the heart wants, and despite knowing the reality, considering my husband’s limitations, would be disappointing at best, my heart still aches for this unrequited encounter. Friends tell me to go without him. He tells me to go without him—lot’s of women do it.

We made these plans in a time when we thought we’d both be strong and healthy forever, or at least until we were, you know, really old. My husband has been to Europe, as a soldier, and numerous times after that. Our dream was to go together, to share the beauty and wonder with each other.

I have traveled without him since we married, though on a smaller scale. It only exchanges one ache in my heart for another, the longing for him to be at my side sharing the moments that photographs can’t capture. It casts a pall of loneliness.

My friend is traveling alone with others—sans husband. When she returns home he won’t be there to greet her; he died before they could share this time of their life.

One heartache for another.

 


A Year of Becoming Crone

Crone woman in mosaicI marked sixty years of life last month. I am relishing the milestone. True, a trace of mourning for my lost youth still lingers around my edges, but the circle turns ever onward and aging is life. I find I spend more time imagining my crone years stretching out before me, who I want to be as Crone, and what legacy I want to create.

The triple goddess archetype of Maiden, Mother and Crone has been much misunderstood and often reimagined. I see it as a broad metaphor, not to be applied literally, nor its increments marked so precisely to biological functions in the life span of a woman.

The Maiden embodies youthful spirit of adventure and exploration, she is unfettered and carefree. Her energy is the awakening of and to life and in that respect she is ageless.

The Mother is the perpetuator of life. She has the potential to grow a child, give birth and care for the child, but that potential need not be actualized by the process of physical birth. The Mother is Creatrix of all life. Her energy is to bring change, to keep things moving forward, to create the unfolding of life, especially her own.

The Crone, of course, is the woman of experience. She is a vault of knowledge gained though life’s lessons—often hard learned. The Crone sees the bigger picture, her energy is of comprehension, compassion, and temperance. She has, perhaps, the most revealing of all vision, that of hindsight. The Crone brings closure, a laying down of burdens too long carried.

The passage from one life stage to the next, does not erase the former. We carry with us all the ages we have been. Neither are the transitions set hard and fast in the flush or loss of hormones. Some women enter their croning earlier, some after they are much older. Becoming Crone is not about age, it’s knowing, in your deepest place, when you have arrived.

I have been hearing the Crone whispers for some time now, but events of the past few weeks have turned up the volume. The voice inside me calls, “Don the mantle and cloak, enter the circle of Crones. Your time is at hand.”

But what does that mean? Sit on my porch swing and wait for younger seekers to come ask my advice? Check my inbox for an invitation to the circle? I’m thinking not. So, like I’ve done with most everything in my life, I’m jumping in feet first. The plan is to spend this year defining the parameters of my Croneship.

Many modern adaptations of the Maiden, Mother, Crone life cycle have expanded it beyond the three archetypal phases. Two models stand out as revolutionary and the books that introduced them have become timeless classics:  The Queen of Myself by Donna Henes and The Women’s Wheel of Life by Elizabeth Davis and Carol Leonard.

Ah, but of course! The three stages of the Triple Goddess are not the only points along the way. As on a beautiful color wheel, they are the primary hues, and between them are all of the beautiful blends—some in equal amounts, yes, but also those with a bit more of this than that, to give us all the colors of the spectrum.

The Queen lies directly between Mother and Crone. She is a powerful woman with much of the warrior about her, fighting for the right to her own sovereignty and for that of all women. From advocate to activist, she is a brave force in whatever causes she takes up.

In The Women’s Wheel of Life, Davis and Leonard give us thirteen unique archetypes, all distinct stages of the progression of blood mysteries, but again like the color wheel, the energies of each archetype strengthen the opposite aspect on the wheel. There are no less than five stages between Mother and Crone—Midwife, Matriarch, Amazon, Priestess and Sorceress.

In the Triple Goddess model, I have been more Crone than Mother for some time now. Queen felt right with her empowerment energy and capacity for the work of shaping society, but my urge to pass the scepter and crown to the next generation has become strong of late. While age alone and the death of my own mother makes me a Matriarch, the energy of Priestess and Sorceress feels much more visceral.

This makes sense to me. The Matriarch bears much of the Queenly qualities, still shaping and nurturing her family and community, while the Priestess and Sorceress are channels of Spirit. Their solo journey takes them through the deserts or to the mountain tops, they walk in the dark places, carefully listening, stirring past experience with divine truth, distilling the message that will be shared as Crone wisdom.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that true croning has almost nothing to do with natural age progression. True croning is an emergence from the depths of our self reckoning and the integration of our shadow and light, a beautiful blend allowing for all the tones. Where once we thought we knew everything, Crone shows us how narrow our vision has been.

The particular Crone energy I’m feeling is one of understanding, compassion, and acceptance that there are many paths to the same end. Between right and wrong action is a wide, gray chasm of potential for harm. I want to choose the way of least harm to myself—this precious, mortal vessel deserves at least as much love and care as I have given to others throughout my life.

I am quite ready to lay down the sword of the Amazon & Warrior, to pass the scepter and crown of the Queen to the next generation, knowing that it doesn’t mean ceding territory already hard-won. I have no doubt there are still many lessons to learn, but I believe they will be of a less corporeal and more transcendent nature.

Whether short or long, my journey to becoming Crone has begun.


When Good Is Good Enough

woman-1207671_640

I have been the MAD Goddess for so long now I have to dust off my math skills to figure out that this alter ego, the Middle Aged Mouthpiece in me, has been around for almost half my life.

At early 30-something I was, maybe, inching my toes into the stream of midlife. Never-the-less, the MAD Goddess voice was strong and she had a lot to say about aging while female in our American society. She still does at 60.

I may have been young in years then, but I felt old emotionally, if not physically. I had aging parents, three children and a husband. I worked part-time and honed my writing skills in whatever minutes were left over. I was always in the middle of something and being pulled in more directions than I cared to follow.

I came of age during the first wave of women told we could have it all. I’ve often said women were not having it all, so much as we were doing it all; and most of the time we were doing it all by ourselves, despite spouses and extended family.

For women in two career households, there might have been extra money for living the good life, whatever that might be. But more often than not, it ended up being spent on childcare and hired help to do the domestic chores—formerly housework, still largely women’s work.

Even now we continue struggling to figure out the pros and cons of all this upward mobility, and don’t even get me started on how the prevalent middle class dream paints a pretty picture of white-privilege America, while brushing over the class subjugation of people of color.

But there is something else on my mind today. Prompted by a social media post, it’s something I’ve been noodling over for a while now. I call it the ugly duckling syndrome, the idea that we have to undergo personal transformation to be shiny, happy, better people than we are.

As with much in our society, there is a money trail to follow. The pursuit of perfection is big business in America. We’re told daily that we must have perfect, white smiles, fit bodies, eat super-foods, wear dazzlingly laundered clothes, live in Pinterest-perfect homes and shit in sparking toilet bowls.

If it isn’t bigger, better, new or improved, it isn’t good enoughAnd that includes us. So, not surprisingly, with the arrival of middle age for the women who’d been doing it all, came a new industry—personal reinvention. Now that he kids were at least old enough to be somewhat self-reliant, possibly even old enough to leave home, middle class women had a sliver of time on their hands and money in their designer bags.

Instead of forking out their hard-earned cash for child care, they could hand it over for courses of self reflection and personal development that encouraged them to re-imagine their life, presumably one that was better than their current situation. There was a lot of misdirected belly button gazing going on, a lot of faux spiritual connection and self-care than translated to spa services. We were all supposed to come out virtually glowing with the outward perfection of inner enlightenment.

As the MAD Goddess, I was on that bandwagon for a while. I became a certified personal coach, a midlife midwife. I developed a four step process for achieving desired, measurable outcomes, whether a client wanted something as straightforward as finding a better job, or as esoteric and finding deeper purpose.

Being the rebel that I am, or that the MAD Goddess in me is, I focused my coaching on finding the right fit, not changing to fit in. I didn’t work with clients to reinvent or reimagine themselves, as if they were somehow inherently flawed or a broken thing that needed to be repaired. Instead, I encouraged them to rediscover who they’d always been,  to remember what gave them joy—or at least satisfaction if joy wasn’t in their emotional took kit. I led them in returning to their core values and embracing good enough.

Self improvement is not a bad thing. I think we all secretly desire to be better in some aspects. I’d like to be a better artist, I want to play an instrument, I want to write a best-selling novel, I’d like to eat healthier, be more physically active, and dress better. I think I should be a more patient wife, a less demanding mother and a more involved grandmother.

Some of those desires are to please me, and some are to please others.  The motivation behind both is the desire to meet some standard of my own design that is a combination of gut feeling and what I’ve been spoon fed to believe. Bottom line? I believe I should make changes that would presumably make me a more likable and lovable person to others. Pressure!

One thing about moving from middle age into Crone, is that I’ve stopped obsessing over what others think of me, if they like/love me or not. My circle of loved ones is growing smaller all the time, because I no longer have the inclination for wearing many masks or doing the exhausting work of pleasing everybody.

Because I love my husband and kind of want him to stick around and keep loving me, becoming more patient and understanding is worth the effort it takes. Same with going a little softer on my daughters and being a more hands on grandma. And as much as I like being all hermity, writing, painting, gardening, foraging and wildcrafting with plants and herbs (basically being village witch), I nudge myself to make time for my friends, because they are an important part of my life that I don’t want to lose.

And here’s the thing, these people who I love and who love me, they know my house is a mess most times, they know I’m a sort of absent-minded professor too focused on my projects, they know I’m mostly low energy and would much rather sit on the deck and share a bottle of wine these days, than go out to make a show of having fun.

These people don’t care that I’ll never play an instrument, that my art is mediocre or that my novel didn’t make any lists, let alone best seller. I’m good enough for them just the way I am.

More and more, I’m finding I’m good enough for me.

 


Living Dangerously

It’s my wedding anniversary today—16 years. That’s right, I chose to get married on the 13th, throwing superstition and caution to the wind. If that’s not enough, every so often our anniversary falls on Friday the 13th!

I suppose this tells people a lot about my character. Though appearance might suggest otherwise, I am not conventional. Caution has to come to me late, thanks to the laws of nature and physics requiring more prudent thought before action, for my own wellbeing. But that’s new for me.

I don’t conform. I like to be the odd duck, the square peg, the devil’s advocate. “But what if . . . ” is probably one of my favorite things to say. I like to challenge people and I like to be challenged. When I told my father I was going to be a writer (at age 22 with a husband and two small children in tow) his comment to me was, “You can’t even spell, how are you going to be a writer?”

I flirt with tempting fate. My father was right. My spelling prowess is mediocre at best. I seem to get tangled up in double consonants all the time. If I double them, chances are it’s wrong. When I don’t, that’s wrong too. Lately I’m having trouble with vowels—I had to look up consonant. My sister and I both begrudge menopause for eating away at our language skills, but that’s another story.

Anyway, hoping for a career in which spelling skill is essential (remember, this was before spell check) doesn’t seem like the best bet, but my father’s comment was the challenge I needed to succeed. He probably knew that. I don’t think there was any single person more proud of my success. I only wish I’d finished my novel before he died, especially since he inspired so much of the characterization of Pops.

Perhaps choosing a day for my wedding that many people attach to bad luck was just another challenge to me.

Perhaps it appeals to my shadow side, which is very much out there, alive and thriving.

Perhaps I just wanted to be sure my husband would never forget our anniversary.

Halloween was another consideration, with a masquerade ball for the reception. But I’m a (recovering) Catholic girl who made her first communion on that date, and then years later took her first lover on the same date. October 31 seemed like it had enough going on already.

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 12.54.24 PMSo, today, I’ll celebrate my anniversary with dinner and drinks at a very nice restaurant, and then come home in time for a little midnight nosh with Hekate.

Yup, that’s normal for me.

 


%d bloggers like this: