Horses and Community

Last weekend was Hekate’s Sickle Festival, the second event for me in as many weeks. While last weekend was an opportunity for me to experience without responsibility, this weekend was an opportunity to serve my community through the experience.

horse celtic animal totemThe theme for this year’s Sickle was Celtic animal totems. I was the clan clergy for the Horse totem. Throughout the festival, clan clergy is there to lead their group through the event, answer questions, and be a support for the people in the clan.

I actually had a lot of resistance at first, because it wasn’t what I was originally asked to do. Originally, my husband and I were going to be clan clergy for Dragon clan. I feel a strong connection with dragons, and we have a TON of them in our home. Decorating for Dragon would be easy.

And then my family was asked to help with Horse. My oldest didn’t have a role yet, so I suggested that he help. (Because then I would not have to change what I was doing… resistance!) After another week or so, I found out that two people were needed – both the totem and the clergy.

My husband and I had a conversation. Neither of us really wanted to change. And then he pointed out that I have a better connection with our son. Drat! He used logic on me!

I still didn’t want to change. I didn’t do the same amount of research and preparation I normally do (well, not until the last minute, when it was more stressful). And we had nothing with which to decorate the cabin or a temple.

So I asked for help. (I also made Value Village a regular stop.) My community stepped up and helped. Someone brought some tack. Someone else brought horse teeth. Another friend had a whole bucket of horseshoes, and someone else had horse hair to make our tokens with.

This weekend was a continuation of last week’s lesson of asking for help, and I am so grateful for my community.

Horse taught me about strength, that I am often stronger than I think I am. I can go much farther than I give myself credit for. And that when I need it, the people around me will help carry me.

Thank you, Horse, for your lessons.

Blessings,

Mary

celtic horse horseshoe

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada. To celebrate, we’re having an “orphan’s Thanksgiving” at our house.

Thanksgiving cornucopiaIt started a number of years ago – we invited a few friends who we know did not have family nearby. Biological family anyway. We became a family of choice.

A few people came to expect it, though, which made it less fun for me. When it was a gift I chose to give, I enjoyed giving it. When it was something that was expected of me, I became resentful. So we took a couple of years off, and spent Thanksgiving with immediate family only.

We started out this year by inviting a couple of friends, and then a couple of others asked about it. So I decided to open it up to people from our Circle who did not want to be alone.

I got a much bigger response than I bargained for!

At the ATC Mother Church, they do an Orphan’s Thanksgiving in November, for the US Thanksgiving. They have a much bigger space in which to host. I have a fairly small house – only about 1100 sq. ft. There are five of us, and we are often bursting at the seams.

Today, there are going to be at least 10 people in addition to my family, here for dinner. I spent all day yesterday cleaning my house (I think I’ve said before that I am not a very diligent housekeeper). I have tucked things into nooks and crannies trying to make as much space as possible.

I am grateful to have so many friends who want to spend Thanksgiving with us. I am grateful for the roof over our heads, however small, in which to host them. I am grateful for the resources to be able to provide food. I am grateful that it is a beautiful day, and we can use the deck as well as the house!

Wherever you are, I invite you to reflect upon your many blessings. And I wish you a very happy and abundant Thanksgiving!

Blessings,

Mary

Heart Full

Thank you to everyone who has reached out in the last little while, sending supportive messages and energy and encouragement. I was really on the mend already by the time I wrote last week – the worst was over. And it was wonderful to receive your comments. Thank you.

My-Heart-is-FullUnfortunately, I am not able to share details of the drama in my personal life. Those who know me personally are aware of the situation, and maybe one day I will be able to share what has been happening. I can share that my family life is good.

Progress has been made, though resolution is still some ways off, as is healing. I keep having to remind myself that things didn’t get this way overnight, so they are not going to be resolved overnight.

My mind still blows things out of proportion, for example, when plans change unexpectedly. For example, last night I received an email that I had been expecting earlier, and it threw off my evening plans. It took me a while to calm down. I still want to escape and just watch Netflix or sew.

That said, I am having more positive moments. I am slowly feeling more social, or at east less anti-social. I met with a counselor last week, and he was able to help me to find some good insights. I’ve even started creating again. I’ve got a Celtic knot purse on the go, and another one planned as well as a couple of sweater coats on the go.

And, of course, I’ve got rehearsals for Spring Mysteries Festival to keep me busy. (You can still register at the Early Bird rate until January 31st!) Yes, it is time to journey to Eleusis again.

Anyway, I reassure you all that I am on the mend. Thank you for helping fill my heart. I really appreciate it!

Blessings,

Mary

 

Feeling Grateful

In the United States, Thanksgiving is not celebrated until late November. Here in Canada, the official Thanksgiving is in mid October. For many pagans, the upcoming autumn equinox is the time for giving thanks.

Thank you universe for all my many blessings

Even knowing that is what the season marks, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself feeling intense gratitude the last few days.

I am grateful for my family, both biological and spiritual.

I am grateful for my mentors.

I am grateful for friends, both near and far.

I am grateful for the opportunities to help others.

I am grateful for the opportunities to share what I have learned.

I am grateful for opportunities to learn new things.

I am grateful for all of the abundance I have in my life.

I am grateful for my challenges, because they help me to grow.

I am grateful for my health. I am especially grateful that my health is improving.

I am grateful for the amazing artist that provides artwork for my blog and guided meditations!

I truly have a lot to be grateful for. Thank you, Universe, for all my many blessings.

What are you grateful for?

Blessings,

Mary

Manifestation Miracle!

What a difference a couple of weeks can make.

Two weeks ago, I was a wreck. My husband had just left on a business trip, and I was adjusting to being a (temporary) single mom. The brakes on my car had just died, and I was scrambling to juggle the expenses to repair it. Work and school and life in general was overwhelming.

Thank goodness for my friends. And my naturopath.

I can’t necessarily pinpoint one thing that made the difference. It was probably the combination of many of the little changes. I started taking some melatonin at night to help me sleep better, and vitamin B6 along with another stress formula supplement during the day. I received the support of my friends. And I took action to replace my vehicle.

Manifesting a minivanLast week I wrote about my vehicle and what I wanted to manifest. Less than a week later, I have a silver minivan sitting in my driveway.

I am in total wonder and gratitude.

It’s been a week of emotional ups and downs, and lots of research. And the Universe has helped me to receive the newest vehicle I have ever owned, at a price that is within my budget to pay for.

It crossed my mind that I could have looked into financing for a vehicle when our other van died two months ago. If I had done it then, this vehicle would not have been available. I would have settled for a vehicle that did not fit the needs of my family nearly as well.

Sure, I wouldn’t have sunk a bunch of money into buying and repairing a car that was destined for the wrecker. And even with that I am at peace. That car filled a gap for us. And if it had not had so many problems, I probably would have put up with the stress and expenses of driving a vehicle that was not suitable for my family for quite a while.

Now I have a van that is only 3 years old. Previously it was used to help people with health challenges get to much needed medical appointments (there were angels on the sides of it!), so it has high mileage and good karma (car-ma?).

I am so grateful to the Universe for lining this up for me – from the stress and the challenges all the way through to the positive manifestation. I’m also grateful that I was listening and following through on the gentle nudges and intuition I was receiving. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Pause for Gratitude

It’s Thanksgiving once again here in Canada. I’ve been dealing with a rather large amount of stress recently. So today I am stopping to be grateful for all the blessings I have.

I am grateful for my husband. He does so much to take care of me and our children. He looks after our home and makes sure we are all fed. He is a good listener, and he is very supportive of all the things I do. Thank you for being my partner, David.

I am grateful for my children. I am proud to see how they are all growing into unique young men. And I really appreciate that they all still communicate with me, and give wonderful hugs and snuggles.

I am grateful for the rest of my family. I don’t get to see them as often as we would all prefer, and yet they provide help and support in their own ways. Even though we are half a continent apart, I love my parents, my sister and her family, and my cousin and her family, and my aunt and uncle, and I miss you all.

I am grateful for my job. It may be one of the biggest sources of stress in my life, and it helps keep the roof over our heads and food in our bellies. And I have some wonderful coworkers.

I am grateful for our vehicle. This has been another major source of stress recently. While there are still some things that need fixing, having transportation is important for getting to and from work and school, and public transit here just doesn’t cut it.

I am grateful for my spiritual community. I really don’t know what I would do without you all, and this is a pretty big group! You have challenged me, helped me see the world through a different perspective, encouraged me and helped me to grow in so many ways. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

I am grateful for my health. It’s been a full year since my gall bladder attack. I still have to give my body my attention and be aware of what I eat, and I have had no major problems for over a year. This is very good.

While the past year (and particularly the past month) may have been challenging, and more stressful than I would have preferred, I am still grateful for all the ways that I have grown and all the challenges I have overcome. I really do have a lot to be grateful for.

What are you grateful for?

Blessings,

Mary

Reflections of Aphrodite

Spring Mysteries Festival is now over for another year. Life returns to its slightly less frantic pace. I’m home, mostly rested, and falling back into my regular routine.

There’s a bit of post-festival let-down, for sure. Being in that magical space, with amazing people – most of whom I only get to see once or twice a year – and helping to facilitate transformation is exhilarating and incredibly rewarding. It’s my other real world.

Peter Paul Rubens Venus (Aphrodite) at a mirror ca 615Looking back on the past few months, I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to work so closely with Aphrodite. She has challenged me on so many levels. And so I have grown in a lot of ways.

Our modern society portrays Aphrodite as a bubble-headed bombshell who only cares about sex. I had the chance to discover that she is so much more than that.

The Goddess of Love and Beauty and Pleasure sees the bigger picture. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Growth requires change. It requires stepping outside your comfort zone. And yes, sometimes that means you may get hurt. But it’s better than dying.

The message that Aphrodite shared most often this weekend (and therefore, the message that was also meant for me) is that you have to love yourself before you can truly love others and receive love from others. Look in the mirror and say, “Hello, beautiful, Goddess (or handsome God). I love you!” Do it even if you don’t believe it – ESPECIALLY if you don’t believe it – repeat it daily until you do. Have fun, enjoy the pleasures of this physical form: the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and touch. And yes, even the pain has something to teach you.

I received many compliments last weekend that have helped reinforce the work I have done. I thought perhaps I might miss the compliments after the festival, and I don’t really. I feel so much more confident and comfortable in my body as it is than I did at the start of this journey. And I am so very grateful.

Though I will not be working as closely with Aphrodite, I know She will always be there if I need her. I am familiar with her energy, and I can recognize it and call upon it.

For all of you who have been afraid of working with Aphrodite, like I was, I encourage you to continue. She is gentle and compassionate when needed, saucy and irreverent when needed, and pushy as all get out if you don’t listen the first time! The growth is worth the effort, though.

Blessings,

Mary

Black Friday Puts Me in a Black Mood

This past week was Thanksgiving in the US. I have to say I miss the big family dinner in November. I remember going to my Grandma’s house, and my aunt and cousin would be there. And always so much wonderful food! I miss that.

This year, though, I didn’t hear much about Thanksgiving. Mostly I was hearing about “Black Friday”. It was everywhere – on the radio, on social media, in my email. I really got tired of hearing about it. It is such a huge contradiction to the holiday the day before.

Here’s a holiday that is supposed to be about gratitude for all the things we have and spending time with family. Then the very next day, or in some cases, the very same day, going out and buying lots of stuff because we obviously don’t have enough.

I know this has been going on for years, I just don’t remember hearing SO much about it in the past. Maybe I was just better at tuning it out before. Or maybe the desperation of retailers encouraging us to consume more was deafening this year.

Don’t get me wrong. I like my stuff. I’m quite attached to my cell phone, aka pocket computer. I like having lots of clothes to choose from. And I’m starting to get quite a collection of goddess statues. And if you are one of those who went out to get great deals this weekend, that’s OK. It’s your choice.

The blatant, loud, repeated message to “BUY MORE!” got on my nerves though. I’m very conscious that the next consumer holiday is coming up quickly, thank you. I’m also very aware that I have two birthdays in my immediate family in the next month. I don’t need it hammered into my every waking moment.

OK, rant over. Time to refocus. Deep breath. Ground and center. Gratitude. Yes. That’s a much higher vibration.

meditation love gratitudeI’m grateful for my amazing supportive husband – I can’t say that enough. I’m grateful for my children, my extended family, and my family of choice. I’m grateful for my spiritual community, and opportunities to learn and grow. I’m grateful for my friends. I’m grateful for my home, and the warmth of the fire, and a full belly. I am so blessed with abundance all around me.

I am grateful that I have the choice to re-focus my attention where I want it to be, and not where someone else tells me it should be.

I feel so much better now!

What are you grateful for?

Blessings,

Mary

PS. There’s a contest going on at this post over here. Make sure you get your entry in by leaving a comment!

It is my pleasure to serve

I am exhausted. I really just want to crawl back into bed and sleep for about a week. And at the same time I am charged up and energized from the work I did this weekend.

I just returned from Hekate’s Sickle, one of the two major festivals my church puts on every year. Last year was my first year attending, and this year I was honored to be invited to participate as one of the ritual presenters.

Hekate ShrineIt wasn’t a large role, and yet it was important in that I was truly able to serve both the people attending the festival and the other ritual presenters. I was welcomed warmly even though I was not able to be present for any of the pre-festival rehearsals.

I arrived on two hours of sleep (plus what little rest I was able to snatch in the front seat of the car). We went straight to work when I arrived on site, and didn’t stop until the wee hours of the morning. Then it was up early to do more the next day, with only about 3 hours of sleep. The most interesting thing to me is that I was not as wiped out as I would have expected (though I certainly am feeling tired now that I am home).

Realization hit me when my mentor and friend came down the path for part of the ritual on Saturday night. She stopped and thanked me for my sacred service. And I answered her, “It is my pleasure to serve.”

It truly is! To be able to facilitate transformation and healing for other people, to give of my presence in a loving and supportive way, to be able to contribute to my community – all of these bring me great joy. I am repaid in compliments and appreciation and love, as well as being able to spend time with some of the most amazing people. The act of serving in love and joy brought me energy.

What brings you joy? What fills you up? Find a way to do those things, even if they do not pay you monetarily. The rewards go far beyond any financial compensation.

Blessings,

Mary

Wake Up Call

Today is Thanksgiving here in Canada. And I definitely have cause to give thanks.

ThanksgivingI spent most of the last week in bed recuperating, in between trips to the doctor and the hospital trying to figure out what exactly was causing the pain that put me in the emergency room. It turns out it was gall stones. Not deadly on their own, they certainly caused me plenty of pain just over a week ago.

There is a lot of contradictory information about gall stones out there. The mainstream medical solution to gall stones is to remove the gall bladder completely. Other information says the attacks can be controlled through diet. And other information says that there are often other underlying causes that contribute to gall stones.

I also received tons of contradictory advice from many of my friends and connections through Facebook. Many have had personal experiences with gall stones, and they run the gamut from wishing they had the surgery sooner to having completely healed themselves with this or that food or supplement.

For me, this is an opportunity to explore my overall health with a naturopath, something I have been considering for a long time. I’m still going to have a consultation with the surgeon, because I am not ruling out that option. And I also want to examine all my options. If changes to my diet can alleviate the problems with my gall bladder, and also improve my health in other areas, then I will make those changes. If I still end up needing surgery, so be it, I will have made changes that contribute to my healing.

I am grateful that my body is so adaptive, and that it has such a wonderful ability to heal itself.

I am grateful to my gall bladder for signaling that there was an imbalance in my body.

I am grateful that I have been given an opportunity to examine and reevaluate my food choices in order to allow my body to operate more efficiently.

And then, of course, there is also my family, my wonderful circle of friends, the support of my spiritual community, and all the other ways abundance manifests in my life.

What are you grateful for right now?

Blessings,

Mary