Category Archives: Magic and Spirituality
magick, witchcraft, paganism, religion, spirituality, and other topics of an “otherworldly” nature
When you’re a kid, Christmas is the BEST. Presents and songs and food and presents and games and mythological creatures and decorating the house and did I mention presents? There is no other time of year that brings out the essential “kid” in kids. It’s full of hope. It’s fun. It’s a time of wonder and magic. Its awesome. Even after you stop believing in Santa Claus, you still get cute hats and scarves and presents, and if you’re good, Mom will give you a sip of mimosa or spiked eggnog at the family party.
Then you grow up and have kids of your own, and it starts all over again. The magic. The wonder. The awesome.
I find that, this year, I’m at a weird midpoint. After having grown enough to shed the kid-beliefs of an actual fat man breaking into my house, I still held a wonder of the spirit of Santa – something my mum has maintained my entire life and will continue to do with my children. The spirit of Santa is the spirit of giving, of companionship, and being thankful, and of remembering that we’re all human, regardless of what we look like or where we live. I didn’t grow up in a religious house, but I’ve been told a lot of Christians mirror this with the teachings of Jesus. Santa is my secular Jesus, you could say.
But the past few years, I haven’t been living with my mom, and I’m not a kid, and I don’t have kids, so… where does that leave Christmas for me?
As a Witch, I have an interesting relationship with Christmas, I think. I’m not anti-Christian, and I’m not anti-Christmas (not by a long shot), but I do celebrate a lot of the traditional Christmas symbolism with Yule instead. Trees, holly, warm spiced drinks, grand meals, gift giving, jolly men in red suits and lighting the inside to honor and say goodbye to the darkness outside – that’s all ancient solstice symbolism. And since I’m not Christian, don’t believe in one supreme god, and don’t believe that the birth of Jesus was the birth of the savior… well, where does that leave Christmas for me?
Early adulthood sans children is a weird, in-between time for celebrating Christmas – especially if you aren’t in a relationship. (Christmas seems to highlight the loneliness, although luckily I’m married so I don’t have to worry about that.) Celebrating the solstice is a given for me; any of my pagan friends get solstice gifts instead of Christmas presents. I send out holiday cards instead of Christmas cards – not because I’m against Christmas, but simply because I celebrate more than one holiday during December. On Christmas itself, I see my immediate family, and now my in-laws, and we exchange presents and get stuffed. But I will admit, Christmas feels a little empty during the in-between time.
At first I thought there wasn’t much to be done until I had kids – and I still believe that Christmas will get a serious jumpstart once we have a little one to go all out for – but I realized today that Christmas is all about the traditions. Every way we celebrate, everything we eat, all the little habits – it’s all done because they’re our individual Christmas traditions. So if I’m in some weird in-between time, where most of my Christmas traditions involve the child I no longer am and do not yet have, maybe it’s time to take my new husband, my new family, and make some new traditions.
This year, the Husband and I are in our own apartment that’s pretty long and narrow, with oil heat and radiators in every room; the result is we really don’t have room for a Christmas tree. Now, I have never, in my LIFE, not had a real tree for Christmas. But in the spirit of new traditions, we went out and bought a yule log to place on top of our electric space heater. Then we added some battery powered tea lights, strung some lights around the doorways in the living room, and hung our stockings from the alcohol cabinet with care. Without a tree to decorate, we were forced to find alternate ways of decorating. And I have to say, I’m in love with our creativity; we added a couple glass balls from our tree ornament collection and placed the tree skirt underneath the log, and my Christmas Frog (a remnant from a Christmas fundraiser YEARS and YEARS ago) has a place of honor on the TV stand. When the lights are plugged in, the lamp is off, and the tea lights and space heater are glowing, it really feels like Christmas in here.
In honor of new traditions, and inspired by our creative decorating, I’m getting the Husband a special gift this year – but I can’t say what, so it stays a surprise. (I’ll tell you all after the holidays.) Also, when we visit the in-laws on Christmas Day, we’re going to the movies – something I’ve never done on Christmas, but apparently is a common tradition for a lot of other people.
It’s fun to come up with new and exciting ways to celebrate a holiday that previously had me in a rut; and its causing me to look towards next Christmas, when we may have a little one on the way or even crawling around, and contemplating all the new traditions we can start as a new family.
What are some of your alternative holiday traditions? Do you do anything that’s outside the norm? What’s your favorite tradition from childhood?
DISCLAIMER: This post was written a while ago – like months. I wasn’t going to post it originally, but something has been tugging at my subconscious lately, and with Halloween and Samhain around the corner, perhaps a personal encounter with meditation and spirituality is right on the menu. It’s a little rough, but the emotion behind it is the important part. I highly suggest anyone who hasn’t meditated before give it a try – you don’t have to be spiritual, you just have to want to relax!
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(If this post is scattered, I’m sorry. My mind is crazy. The post will tell you why.)
With this economy, money can be tight, so I don’t often do things just for myself when they cost something. But tonight was a meditation class at my local Mind and Body Center, and I was really looking forward to it, and felt like it was someplace I needed to go; the Fiance and even my mom both made sure I went (sometimes I tend to skip out at the last minute on stuff like this). So tonight I went, and I can’t explain how happy I am that I did.
The class was a guided meditation to meet one’s spirit guides. I meditate occasionally at home but I don’t usually get anywhere. I have trouble clearing my mind. I thought maybe a guided class would help, so I showed up. First of all, Sandy, the woman who owns the center, was soooo nice. I’ve been trying to get to a meet up there for a while, and when I walked in, she said she was so happy to finally meet me in person. It was a really welcome feeling.
So, fast forward to the actual class. The class was a mixture of people who meditate on a regular basis, who have dabbled, and who have never had success before. There were only 6 people in the class, including myself. The first guided meditation that Sandy led us through was an exercise to enhance visualization; it was great, because when we talked about it afterwards, Sandy validated part of my visualization; I was entering the basket of a hot air balloon, and mentioned that I felt weightless, like I could pole-vault over the side and land gracefully, and that I never had a doubt my body couldn’t perform like that. Sandy said that meant I was truly hitting a meditative state, where my Ego wasn’t telling me what was or wasn’t real anymore. It was a nice feeling, since I always feel like I’m failing while meditating.
After that, we went through an exercise to create a nature space within which to retreat while meditating. Luckily I had experience with this, so I already knew generally where I would go to; I was surprised, then, to find that the area I went to was completely altered tonight. Usually I go through a green forest into a clearing or small field. Tonight, while Sandy led us down a path, my mind showed me the small details I’d always been missing.
The path was dirt-packed and concave, with the mossy and grassy sides rising up along the edge. While the forest in my mind is usually green, tonight it was a thick, dense, wet green, like in the forests of the northwest. Moss was absolutely EVERYWHERE. (I’m curious now, and intend to look up the magickal and symbolic properties of moss.) There were fallen logs, rocks, and green everywhere I looked. Eventually on the right side of the path was a small wooden garden gate. When I walked through it, I took a very short path to an open grove encircled by trees. It was nothing like the grove usually is. I could barely see the sky, the trees and vines were so overgrown. There were fallen logs making a sort of circle, with one log more prominent than the rest. Off from the center of the circle was a hollowed out stump (again, covered in moss), and there was a large tree right behind a fallen log, with a mossy seat cover, that I would sit on and relax. I heard the rustling of the trees and the flapping of wings and the scurrying of little forest rodents beneath the brush. It was so green and secluded. I never wanted to leave.
After exploring this place in my meditation, I was almost pulled out of it by a strong sense of deja vu (which I get uncomfortably frequently). I knew I had been to this exact place before, though not in meditation. I had dreamt of this place, I was remembering just now, and I had dreamt up a conversation with my uncle who passed when I was six. He’s always been very close to my heart, so being torn from my meditation by this memory of a dream with him was so shocking to my system. Almost immediately after having this realization, Sandy began to guide us out of the nature place to awaken. I went from feeling calm and serene to panicked and desperate; I didn’t want to leave, and I didn’t want to leave the feeling of my uncle. It was heart-wrenching. I almost teared up when I opened my eyes. It was profound and a little scary.
The final exercise of the night was the actual meditation to meet our spirit guides, the one we’d all come to the class to do. I knew we would be starting by going back to that place, and I was nervous. Would I have that feeling again? Was this perfect place tainted for me now?
I went into my meditation and back to that grove. It was exactly the same, and there were no ill feelings. There was one thing different this time, a very nice feeling, although it made me curious; on the stump in the center of the grove was a tall white pillar candle, lit. I don’t know if it was to cleanse from the panicked feelings from before, or as a welcome from my spirit guides, but it was nice.
This time we were guided into a room where we would meet our guides. I have to say, I wasn’t really expecting it to work. I figured I would picture the room, wait, and then force myself to come up with an image. That’s not how it happened at all, and it did shock and excite me a little.
My first spirit guide was a woman; she said her name was Ana. I remember lots of details about her, except her face. The very first thing I saw, and the thing that stuck with me, was that she was wearing reddish-brown spiral horns, like ones you could buy at a renaissance faire. It struck me as odd at first; was I picturing some kind of fae or demon creature? Surely they couldn’t actually be spirit guides. But I reminded myself they were probably approaching me in a form that I was most comfortable with, and hell, I’m weird. But as she walked towards me, I felt like they were just another costume piece, easily removable. I think maybe she did that because of my initial surprise at seeing a being with horns.
Ana appeared to me very quietly. She barely spoke a word, but was a strong, stoic, silent character. Stoic is the best word I have to describe her. While I was anticipating an exciting meeting, she made me feel like it was off point to be excited to meet her, because she had been with me my whole life. I already knew her, so we weren’t meeting. We were reuniting.
My second guide was a man named Adam. (What is it with the A names?) He couldn’t have been more different from Ana if he tried. As soon as he appeared, he scooped me up in a huge, twirling hug. He was tall and dark, wearing all white clothes, and had a beaming smile. He almost came off as gay to me. He radiated joyful love to me, while Ana was more deeper love. Both, however, were unmistakably unconditional.
We were to ask if they had any messages for us. Adam responded immediately, “Keep up the good work, kid! Keep on your path. You’re on the right track. Keep on keeping on.” Ana was quieter, quicker. “Reconnect with nature.” Maybe that’s why she feels like a satyr to me. She’s got to be a nature spirit of some sort. Adam is more a life coach type guy.
Our meeting was cut short because, hey, it was only a 2 hour class and we were already hitting close to the end. I reluctantly said goodbye – Adam again hugged me fiercely – and then I journeyed back out to my present self.
I have never - never – EVER had a meditative experience like that before. It was absolutely incredible. I hated the feeling of coming back into my body, and I couldn’t wait to get home and journey back to meet with Ana and Adam again. Sandy, the organizer, said she may run more spirit guide classes in the future, and I will definitely attend.
If you meditate, or are spiritual in any way, and haven’t journeyed to meet your guides yet, I seriously suggest you do so. The brief minutes I spent with them changed how I feel inside. It was crazy.
Getting back on the bandwagon… this is my post for this past friday’s participation in the Pagan Blog Project. I hope to catch up soon, at least with one post per letter. This past Friday was K. To me, there’s only one word that K could stand for in a magickal setting: knowledge. And right now, I’m on the hunt for some.
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Usually when I drink, I don’t have any dreams. However, after having a few glasses of wine last night and falling into bed, I had some crazy dreams. Like, involving witches and spiritual guides and shapeshifters and lots of magick and secrets. I didn’t want to wake up this morning because the dream was so real and so cool, but my phone rang and it was my mom so I had to lest she berate me for days. But the dream still clings to me; I don’t remember the details, just certain images, and how I felt. It was pretty powerful. Read the rest of this entry
I will admit; I’m having trouble with H. I’m not close enough to a god or goddess to wax poetic about one. I’m planning out a really great post on herbalism, a true passion, and saving it for next week. So what the hell could I talk about this week that starts with H?
I’m trying to get back on track. Bear with me.
I was reading some other posts from blogs that I follow in regards to the PBP, trying to figure out what to write about while it’s still Friday. (Its after midnight here, but its still dark, and Dark Time dictates its not Saturday until I wake up or the sun rises, whichever comes first.) I read posts on obvious stuff like gods and grounding and I knew I didn’t want to talk about that. (Well, I will, but only kinda.) Then I read this post on geneology. And then this one on gratitude. And I realized.
I have a new goal in my magical life. Read the rest of this entry