Thursday, 11 December 2014

Our Way Is The Secret Way

The darker it gets, the more impact has the light. These days when I leave the house in the morning, it’s still pitch dark, but at the current phase of the moon, She is there in the black sky, unfailingly guiding me and providing her mysterious indirect light.

I’m never more aware of the moon than I am during the Dark Weeks. She’s such a comfort, especially now in the shape of the Crone who teaches us not to be heroes, not to do great deeds, but only to endure. It’s a much-underrated skill, to endure.

There are reasons why I chose to begin the yearly “13 Moons” ecourse for women in the winter. It makes for such a lovely journey, starting in the dark with Her as the only light, and then going towards and through the bright seasons, only to go full circle then back into the night.

Quite a few women have done the course by now, and the feedback I get most often is that the women enjoy to be DOING things, rather than just reading about them. I use one moon goddess per moon cycle, not one each week, because that might be fancy and tickle your mind, it wouldn’t change you the way regular meditations, walks in nature, attuning to the moon and Her phases, self care and crafting will do. This course is about getting in touch with your deep inner sacredness, your core as a woman, and that can never be accomplished by just reading.

The course is open for sign-up, btw! It’s going to start on the 5th of January, on the full moon. I hope many are going to join for a memorable journey through the year, together.

Sometimes I wonder if November/December could be the “witchiest” time of the year? There is so much time for reflection, evaluation, introspection, as well as planning for the future. I do an awful lot of hibernation these days, I almost feel bad about it. Thank the gods I’ve got my Coaching clients to keep me connected and communicating. They inspire me endlessly. It’s such a privilege to be part of their journeys too.

Maybe a time of darkness is also a time of secrets. My friend Kristian shared something so beautiful on his Facebook page today, I feel compelled to share it, and I’ll close this entry with it. It’s a quote by Jack Parsons:

"We are the Witchcraft. We are the oldest organisation in the world. When man was first born, we were. We sang the first cradle song. We healed the first wound, we comforted the first terror. We were the Guardians against the Darkness, the Helpers on the Left Hand Side.

We are on the side of man, of life and of the individual. Therefore we are against religion, morality and government. Therefore our name is Lucifer.

We are on the side of freedom, of love, of joy and laughter and divine drunkenness. Therefore our name is Babylon.

Sometimes we move openly, sometimes in silence and in secret. Night and day are one to us, calm and storm, seasons and the cycles of man, all these things are one, for we are at the roots. Supplicant we stand before the Powers of Life and Death, and are heard of these powers and avail. Our way is the secret way, the unknown direction. Ours is the way of the serpent in the underbrush, our knowledge is in the eyes of goats and of women."

Monday, 1 December 2014

The Dark Weeks And The Deep Inner Life

How do you turn the inside out? It’s not like nothing is happening at the moment, it’s just that most of it happens deep inside so I’m finding it hard to blog about it. It’s the time of the year, the Dark Weeks, like the world is holding its breath for the arrival of the Solstice and the return of the light. I’m all entangled in that energy and don’t do much at all – lots of time for myself, staying at home with my budgies, reading or gaming, but oh how rich is the life underneath the surface.

I had a week and a half off work in November, and it was a “holiday in World of Warcraft” for me – the new expansion had just dropped and it’s beautiful (the picture above is a screenshot from one of the gorgeous new areas in the game), and so I spent a lot of time online with my gaming friends, some of whom I’m very close to. It was great and just the amount of contact I needed!

The rest of my time off was spent in planning, dreaming, and taking stock of my life. It was a sometimes painful process with all sorts of emotions coming up. I cried, I laughed, I sat in meditation, I danced. And all along I wove the threads into the tapestry of my life. I caught a glimpse of the future, too.

Too much waffling? Well all right, here are the results:

I have affirmed once again that even with a good day-time job in a decent company, my goal is and remains to work from home in the foreseeable future. My deadline for this goal is summer 2016, but if it should be possible earlier, I’ll do it. And no, I have no idea whether it’ll be in my current job or another one, I just know that this is where I want to go.

It makes sense when you consider that I’ll have a bird sanctuary and will have to be there, to drop in for a few minutes during lunch to check on a sick bird or simply keep him company. It’ll also eliminate any commute, so as soon as I finish work I’ll be THERE and with my birds. I used to work from home for 5 years a while ago, and I know I’m well suited for it and have the discipline required, as well as a fully-equipped home office.

I’ve also outlined the structure of the bird sanctuary. I’m going to have to register as a charity (don’t know the details of that just yet, but I’ll find out) and take donations. I’m planning an absolutely revolutionary system where I actually publish the sanctuary’s bank statements on a website every month and tell everyone who donates, exactly what happened with their money. There will be options for once-off donations starting at 5 bucks all the way to “adopting” a bird for 10 EUR a month. I can practically see the website in front of me, hurray for creative visualisation!

I’ve also seen the future of Gentle Miracles Coaching. It’s on a good path, and the main thing is to keep investing my energy and love into my newsletter and the work with my clients, and listen, truly listen to what they have to say and where they need support.

These are just the milestones. I’ve outlined my plans for health, exercise, the way a typical weekday will look like, and much more. I spent time telling my budgies about this future, and how wonderful it’ll be, and they listened attentively, all fluffed up and comfortable – I believe they know I’m promising them this future and that they can count on me.

Seen from the outside, none of the above looks very exciting, does it? But there is so much going on underneath in these Dark Weeks.

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Liquid Silver Of Twilight


Dread Pirate Sibylle, at the office Hallowe'en event!

After the clocks were changed back from Daylight Savings two weeks ago, I got to drive home from work in the twilight a couple times. I LOVE twilight, it’s this indirect, hazy glow that seems to make everything possible. It also turns any water into what looks like liquid silver, be it a river, a lake, or the sea I drive past every day just before I get home. Absolutely magical.

I’ve always thought the light in Ireland to be so very special. We get a good deal of bad weather but to tell the truth, it’s often in the indirect light of the sun behind clouds that makes the Irish landscape look particularly enchanting. It’s one of the things which make things a little better for me during the cold season, which is mostly misery otherwise because I’m always, always cold in the unheated houses I’ve lived in so far.

Twilight is my favourite time of the day. When I still lived in Austria, it was the time when I’d go out to walk in the fields and by the Danube. It’s the time when I do most of my magic as it’s so much easier to get into that special state of mind, or even into a trance. It’s easy to see why folk tales and superstitions always seem to regard “in-between” times and places as particularly magical (or, in some cases, dangerous). Twilight is the time between day and night, midnight the time between one day and the next (“Witching Hour”), windows and thresholds are the places between inside and outside and got particular magical protection as well as being part of customs like the groom carrying the bride across the threshold the first time they enter the house.

I guess the in-between has this inherent nature of change, the linking moment or place which is always the weakest part of the chain. It’s the part where you might stumble, where things might find an entry which are usually kept out.

Incidentally, all the excitement and superstition around Hallowe’en has the same roots, at least around here where there used to be only two recognised seasons, the summer and the winter season. The 31st of October and the 1st of November are the “threshold” between summer and winter, and voila! The “veil between the worlds” is thinnest at that time, making it easier to commune with our ancestors and also making it easier for fairies and other entities of the spirit world to enter ours. At Bealtaine, the threshold between winter and summer, a similar thing happens: the night of 30th April is called “Witches’ Night” in some cultures – in Germany it’s the night when witches and demons and of course, the devil (these beliefs have long been coloured by the predominant Christian beliefs of the last millennia) dance and celebrate on a mountain called the Brocken.

And now we’re in the dark weeks of the year, which to me always feels a bit like a standstill, with nature going into its winter sleep and the days getting darker, until the rebirth of the light at the Solstice. I’ll do a lot of quiet and contemplative things in the next weeks, and I’ll spend a lot of time at home – if only to play WoW, because a new expansion will drop next week! But I’ll also do much meditation and spiritual work, on top of my Coaching and Teaching, of course.

Speaking of which, the next “13 Moons – A Goddess Journey Through The Year” e-course for women is drawing near! I’ve opened sign-ups this week, take a look. There’s also a convenient payment plan available if you don’t have all the cash at once. All in all, it’s very good value for a year-long course. Those who have taken it say it’s a great way to attune yourself to the cycles of the moon and the seasons, and living more in harmony with the world around ourselves, as well as our own divine femininity.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A Dread Pirate's Blood Magic

                                   Titus and Talion on the aviary "roof"

Sorry about the missing blog updates! My excuse is that I really am rather busy at my lovely job, because our financial year end is 31.10. And I work in Finances! So there’s lots going on and I do work the odd longer hours, but for a year end that’s just fine by me.

We’re also having a lot of fun at work. I’m on the committee which organises the Hallowe’en event this year, and we’ll have a decoration contest and a costume contest – meaning that for the first time since childhood, I couldn’t get out of actually wearing a costume! I panicked a little (ok, a lot) at first and asked my trusted Facebook page followers for advice, and they came through magnificently as usual. I’m all set now – I’m going to be Dread Pirate Sibylle, and I’m surprising myself by actually having fun with this.

I’ve also been thinking about this blog for a bit, and while I’ll always write about my life and my Coaching and all the rest, it IS a Pagan blog and that’ll be reflected a little more than recently, especially now that I'm more active again in my practice. Spirituality tends to evolve in cycles, with times that are intense and full of new insights and experiences, and other times when my religious practice just flows along as part of my life and nothing much happens. 

My most intense “phase”, spiritually, was the years 2003-2005. They co-incided with me finding a wonderful online community and the first Pagan friends I’ve had in my life. Looking back over those 10, 11 years since, I’m just staggered at how much has changed since then! But really, for the longest time I felt like I was the only Pagan in the world. The internet truly is a blessing.

I also worked from home at the time, and went through some major changes and upheavals in my life –including about a year in which I didn’t do much else, other than practice my spirituality. It was a great opportunity, and I’m very very grateful for it. I celebrated every Sabbat as well as four (yes, four) Esbats per moon cycle with full rituals, and spent anywhere between 40 minutes and 3 hours outside in nature every single day. You can imagine I evolved spiritually in leaps and bounds.

After 13 moons of intense preparation, I then went to dedicate myself (you can read the very long story of my Dedication here), and I can honestly say it was the most important and beautiful occasion in my life. One part of the Dedication ritual involved pricking my finger and squeezing a drop of blood into the earth, a gesture I remembered recently because it led to an insight.

You see, I listened to a talk about Blood Magic by the wonderful Lora O’Brien at this year’s Féile Draíochta the week before last. Hearing it all laid out in a logical context, made me realise that I have formed a very strong bond with the area in Austria I used to live in, at the time of my Dedication.

When I returned to Ireland later that same year, I loved being back since this is my home (no, I don’t know why, it just is), but I’ve never really formed that strong a connection, not in the depth that I’m used to, to the very bones of the earth. I can still feel Her pulse reverberating through my body when I visit my old place in Austria, but haven’t made that same connection again here. In parallel, my practice has waned to the point that in my current place, I only do meditations because there’s no space for actual rituals! Co-incidence? I think not.

And now I get why that is. So, once I get my own place, hopefully next year, I’ll make a blood connection there. It’s very old magic, and strongly binding. It’s also excellent protection, and that won’t go amiss around a house in which a hag and her birds will live “all by her onesies”, as Jack Sparrow would put it (can you tell the pirate theme is in my head?). And I’ll be able to dance wild in my house again, and stomp and raise energy and have my usual rituals.

It’s a lot to think about.

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Thoughts On Equinox Morning And Modern Slavery

This morning, I stepped out of the house and was greeted with the most beautiful sky. The picture really doesn’t capture it – there were pink and light-blue clouds in the sky, and the light of the rising sun come through indirectly, bathing everything in a surreal shimmer of gold. It was a perfect expression of the Equinox, the balance of light and darkness!

Then when I got in the car and drove off, I saw a rainbow just in front of me, another symbol of balance, since it needs both rain and sunshine to be present. It grew into a full-size rainbow as I drove onto the motorway, and then I went to work with the sun rising in deep orange colour behind me. What a gift!

I’m celebrating the balance in my life, and that includes work-life balance. And while I’m very grateful to finally work in a great company in my day job, I haven’t given up on my dream to work from home again one day. I don’t think I’ll manage to ever be completely self-sufficient here in Ireland (there are laws in place to prevent that, but I’d rather not go into detail now). What astonishes me is how many people completely accept the concept of “working for a living” as the way life works, without questioning it or even realising that this concept has only become dominant for the past 150 years or so.

If you think about it, it’s absolutely staggering how people have been enslaved by this idea. People used to work their land, and while that was often backbreaking work, it was THEIR work, on THEIR land, for THEIR own food. Or they were rich and lived off the “income” of their estates, where other people worked. Artists would find sponsors for their work and travels. Yes, there was always work, and yes, there has been money in our world for a long time, but this narrow idea of “work so you get currency in exchange” wasn’t the only, immediate, knee-jerk option in everybody’s heads. And it gave people more freedom. What astonishes me so much is how “normal” people find it that they only have a few weeks at their own disposal per year, and every other day is structured and decided on by somebody else. It's extremely limiting, like a milder form of slavery.

Marx was spot-on. I don’t think much of the attempts at translating his insights into political systems on our planet so far, but boy did he know his stuff. And that’s why I’m working on creating a larger degree of freedom and self-determination in my own life.

In the meantime, I’m happy to spend my weekdays at a company that’s actually worth my effort. It’s the first company whose t-shirt I wear with pride! Like an addon to my Equinox celebrations, HP is currently in the middle of the 75-year anniversary. We had a big meeting in the canteen this morning, with cupcakes and coffee and a guest speaker from the US headquarters. Fortunately, he really has the gift of capturing the audience’s attention. He started off with: “Don’t worry, I’ll just talk to you, there won’t be a PowerPoint. I often say, if you need a PowerPoint, you either have no power, or no point” - haha!

We then went into the grounds and stood in the shape of a large 75 in our blue and white company t-shirts, which was photographed by some guys on the roof of one of the buildings. It was a study in how energy works: It took a while to get us all into position, and we were standing there freezing in our t-shirts. Then someone played the song “Happy” by William Pharrell over the speakers and we started dancing on the spot, clapping and whooping, and the energy was transformed immediately, you could feel it, like an electric current through the crowd. Amazing.

Gratitude. It’s another theme of the Autumn Equinox. The harvest is mostly in and we look at the bounty and give thanks. I do hope you all have as much to be grateful for, as I do these days.

Happy Equinox! 

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