Sunday, January 3, 2010


At Yule, my kids and I spent the day mostly indoors. It rained, sort of. Enough to make us stay in and snuggle up with cocoa and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This holiday time is coming to a close, and we are all sad about it. It's been a wonderful respite from a dreadful daily life, the past few months. I did a lot of cleansing and purification magick, and there is still more to be done. But the peace and serenity and happiness we had together the past few weeks is it's own brand of magick. On the left there, is Fireball the Reindeer....Sarah has been wearing these antlers at holiday time since she was four. I wonder if she'll take a break next year, when she's fourteen? I hope not.

We built the Yule altar  together on the day of the Solstice. The kids found stuff in their rooms for the Goddess and God; I was going to use the big rock from Will for the Goddess and the blue glass sphere from Sarah for the God, but they objected. "Rocks are a symbol of the underworld and Osiris" says Will. I couldn't really argue with that, and certainly a blue glass orb makes a great Isis, so there you go.

The weeks leading up to Yuletide were very hard, for my family. Lots of stress and anxiety around work and school, health and finances. I've been doing a lot of supportive work for us all, we all have in our own ways. And we were very tired. Having the time to just be together, love each other and have enough time and space to reflect on what is and isn't working is what the Long Dark Night is for. As we prepare for the Sun's return, I am clear in my mind and heart about what I want and need as the Wheel turns again.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

children's magick

This Samhain I was focused on my children and Halloween. I set up my altars, and said my prayers and gave my gratitudes to my ancestors. They came to us, but more in a dropping-by kind of way. They zoomed in, and said "Thanks for the chocolate and scotch! Love you! Okay, bye!" and that was about it. No spirit visits, not major ones anyway, no dishes broken or spirit balls to be seen in the pictures. we took that night. I did not hear the screaming Host flying over the backyard nor the Fae partying all night back there. Except for the squealing teenagers getting ready to go out, it was quiet around here.

The weeks leading up to Samhain, I was overwhelmed by sewing projects...Thibaut's pretty shirt for Spiral Dance, Will's hermit costume, and most complicated and time consuming of all, Sarah's Harry Potter Fabulous costume, which required hours of handsewing many kinds of fabulousness, feathers and glitter onto capes, dresses, and belts. I was very pleased with how they all turned out, and am happy that I have these skills to share with the people I love. To my surprise, Sarah wanted me to come with her and her friends trick or treating, which I was happy to do. She is 13 now, and I am pretty sure next year I will not be invited, so I took my chance while it was offered. I didn't go out with them last year, I sang in the Spiral Chorus and was feeling pretty overwhelmed by that, and many other things that were whirling around me then. I loved being part of such a huge powerful ritual, but was glad to not have the commitment this year, and have felt very turned in toward my family's and my own growth for the whole year. My children are older, and need my immediate attention less and less, but need my deep attention more and more.

And now the night is here, the Dark is fully on us. It's cold and dark before dinner time, and cold and dark when I get up in the morning. Blessed be the Wheel as it turns.

Here is the spirit ball picture from a couple of years ago; I'm pretty sure it's my mother. She loves Halloween.

Friday, September 25, 2009

turning towards the dark, basking in the light

I have been in such a craze of activity the past weeks that here it is nearly Samhain, and I am finally making time for my Mabon post. But there is such beauty and sweetness in this time of year, I can't let it pass. For me, Mabon is really a kind of birthday, as it is the anniversary of my initiation into Sha'can. On the Saturday before the Equinox, my kaula came to my house for a little ritual and family love. We sat on the grass in my backyard with our little altar, Maa, the local Fae, each other and the cypress trees. We did not do anything in the way of magick, beyond affirming our community and friendship, there were this past year's new initiates there who are just learning our magical style, and it was a very gentle, baby circle.

This is also the time of my younger child's birthday, and he is nine this year. We celebrated for days, not something he has ever wanted before, and we did our best to honor his wish. He wanted to have a bonfire as part of his celebration, so our family went to the beach for the full moon, a few days before The Day itself. It was a lovely, warm San Francisco autumn evening, and we had a picnic and watched for the green fire as the sun sank into the water. My kids went for a walk while I built up the fire. I was so grateful that the baby time is over, that we have so much fun together, that they are such interesting people and nice kids. How much of this is the way we raised them, and how much is just the way they are? This is the time of the year when that question arises for me, especially in regard to them as with both of them I was hugely and uncomfortably pregnant and quite ready to be done with it. And now I can see and appreciate the wealth I have in my life, because of those months of waiting and the never-ending years of the work of being a parent. This is the time when we can count the harvest, and take stock. This year, I have come out good. Here we see His Royal Birthdayness ready to go out for dinner. He always dresses for the occasion with impeccable taste, although I will say that I miss the days when a cape was part of every ensemble.

I find myself now looking forward and back, aware of all that I've worked on this year, all the fruit of that labor and all the letting go that it required of me. As the year turns to the dark, I go back into my own stillness and cool darkness with the awareness that there is quite a bit more that wants to leave me, or that I need to leave behind. But for now, I sit in the autumn sunshine and wait for the dark.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Summer turns towards it's end, and I am turning toward the end of my vacation and a number of other things. I don't have much of a relationship with Lugh, or really any of the Celtic pantheon, besides Brigid, but I do honor this cross quarter as a time when the beginning and the end of the summer are simultaneously manifesting. My garden is ready for a replant of chard, lettuce, carrots, broccoli and some new stuff TBA...I am currently all hopped up with the idea of making a potato tower, which I hope to do in the next week or so. Meanwhile, the strawberries are going crazy, as are the roses and the yarrow, the sage, and all the other herbs. But what really said first fruits of the harvest to me this year, were the sugar pine cones dripping with sap and iridescently green that I saw last week at Sequoia NP. They were absolutely lovely and otherwordly, as if they were handpainted by the Fae. I brought a couple of little ones home for the Fae altar in the garden.

We went to Sequoia NP for several days, beginning August 1st, where I met the giant sequoias for the first time. I have never been in the High Sierras, in all my many year in CA, and loved it there. The park itself was quiet and clean and mellow. We were surrounded by multiple family reunions and big groups, all of whom were sober, peaceful, polite and friendly, a new experience for me in a totally full campground-the quiet hours were actually quiet, even the bears were quiet. Although we were gifted with sighting this young guy, on our way to the Crystal Cave.

On Lammas, we went to see the trees, the General Sherman tree, the biggest tree by volume (which I guess means the fattest) in the world. Nearly all the the really big old sequoias in these groves have absurd, super patriarchal names, Senator this and Colonel that. My children thought this was ridiculous. "They aren't generals, they don't move around or kill people" said Sarah. "They aren't boys, even" said Will. As it turns out, Sequoias are in fact hermaphrodites, self-pollinating, both and neither male and female. They don't need bugs or even each other to reproduce. The male cones at the top of the tree shower the female cones lower down with pollen every spring. They do, however, need an occasional lighting strike or forest fire, which heats up the fertilized female cones, causing them to open, and drop their seeds down to the nurturing ash from the fire, and the newly cleared forest floor offers them plenty of sunlight to grow-they love sunlight. They clearly have their Shiva/Sakti all figured out.

The energy of the big tree groves is so busy, so intense and single-focused. All their time is consumed with their own constant, quiet growth. I guess it is not surprising that our goofily and giddily imperialist/colonialist forebears perceived it in a military way. But to my heart and mind and body, it is hardly that (not to mention my children, who were very busy the whole time we were there thinking of new, non-military and unisex names for all the trees..."I know....this one's Pat!" said one, pointing to the General. "This one is Alex!" said the other.)

Many of the old trees have fabulous burn scars, from their love affairs with fire and lightning (talk about hot sex....) They are mainly triangular in shape, and to me look like yonis and underworld portals. They all had a certain yonic quality to them, and some of them had a very strong underworld pull to me; I was quite tempted to jump the fences protecting them from humans, and cuddle up inside one.

We did get to visit the underworld when we toured the Crystal Cave. It was a place sacred to the Menache and Yokuts people, particularly for coming of age ceremonies and vision questing, although those gods and underworld beings seem to be sound asleep now. At any rate, it did not feel very spiritually active to me, maybe because I am not in that time of life, nor do I have a need for vision questing just now. And I am not Yokuts or Menache, and so likely am just not in attunement with that energy. Even if I was, it would not have been very doable, in a crowd of tourists taking pictures and waving flashlights around. But still, it felt much different than the Oregon Caves, which we visited last year, where there was, for me, at any rate, a very active and communicative spirit presence. Maybe because that cave never had a human association before it became a tourist destination, it doesn't have a specific connection to people, and it's energy has not been retooled for a particular set of humans. Don't know, but now my family and I are on a mission to explore as many of the California caves as we can.

This cave is called Crystal Cave because of all the beautiful calcite formations. The whole thing sparkles, even in the near darkness of a flashlight. All the rooms had gorgeous, curving hangings, again very yonic and sensual to me. Last year, when we visited the Oregon caves, I had the same sense of the Divine Feminine made manifest, although here it was not as personal to me. I did not make friends with the rocks in the same way, although their energy and presence was just as strong.

When we got home from our time in the mountains, I found myself cleared out and very tired. It took a few days to get myself back, I am not used to high altitude, especially as there was so much exercise involved...I am a sea level girl, I suppose. I need to be near an ocean, or maybe that is just what I am used to; I have been within ten minutes of water most of my life.

But I also found that what Ganesha told me at the Solstice was true...many internal obstacles have been clearing out, and being in the mountains with the huge, busy trees helped advance that process, in some way. I have done some work this summer, in all the worlds, to make this happen, but for the most part it is not about doing so much as *not doing. Letting go is a very small movement, just a muscular release, but so much happens when my fingers uncurl and my hands relax.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

new moon in cancer+coconut ice cream for Ganesha

At the solstice, my family and I sometimes go to join my friend Jennifer and her family and some others down at Ocean Beach for a good old fashioned, non-magick pagan potluck. We have fun, drink beer and jump over the fire and maybe into the ocean, if it's not too cold. But the summer solstice is also our wedding anniversary, and so that generally takes precedence, as was the case this year. Plus Reclaiming had their Solstice ritual in the Pagan ghetto area of the beach (where it's legal to have a fire), and I had a feeling it would be crowded and crazy and silly and maybe full of naked people getting arrested, so I took a pass for that reason too. I heard from my Reclaiming friends that all went well, and I'm glad. I am also glad I wasn't there, and have not checked in yet with Jen to see what it was like from her perspective, as a non-participating witness to one of Reclaiming's biggest rituals of the year, but if I know her she was likely amused, annoyed, and hoping they'll go back to the old spot next year (as I have heard is likely). So at this turn of the wheel, I went with my family for a walk on the beach in Half Moon Bay, and had a lovely time hanging out and BBQing with friends in our backyard later on. This year, my backyard provided enough solstice magick for me. The sun had it's longest day, and many things were illuminated and made clear, in their own ways, with no magick or even any ritual involved. Some years it's like that.

The work I have been doing since Ostara has been mainly about dissolving hardness where softness is needed, setting appropriate boundaries in my relationships and with myself, and letting go of obstacles. It became apparent recently that the most detrimental obstacles are the ones I create for myself. At Yoni Puja, I asked Maa for forgiveness, of myself and others....and for the next two weeks I faced wave upon wave of bitterness, anger and regret. Many surprising tears. Clearly, I was not even close to accepting the kind of cosmic bliss and spiritual letting go I thought I wanted. And so I've realized that before I can forgive anyone, even myself, what I really need to take a look at are the impediments within me to the spiritual action I am feeling called to take.

On the Monday after solstice, however, my lovely coven gathered for a new moon and solstice working. The evening summer sun was blazing in the window of our host's 7th floor apartment, warming and illuminating all of us and clearing away shadows, even as it created new ones. We had decided that we would be working with Ganesha to remove obstacles and ask for guidance. It was the new moon in Cancer, a good time for starting new things, and letting go of old ones. We called him in, offering treats and songs, and all of our love and devotion. And he showed up, for me, with his wives on his arms, and looking fabulous-kind of a Las Vegas headliner Ganapati.

I asked him to remove the obstacles I had been finding, to forgiveness and self-love. "They are all inside you" he said. "my stubbornness" I said, and he replied "No, you need that!" He told me that at this time all that is required of me is to wait (at which I suck, as those who know me well can attest) and he showed me the location inside myself from which I must wait, in my heart chakra, with a big shiny elfstar as the focal point, the anchor.

Later, we did divination with tea leaves, something I had not tried before. It turned out to be another thing that I suck at, which annoyed me a lot as I am in general pretty good at divination, but not tea leaves. It looked like, you know, wet leaves to me. But other people were able to do it quite well, and read my cup for me. It looks like the waiting will go on for quite a while. At least I know where my chair is.