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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Friday, 12 September 2014

The Dynamics Of Balance

It’s that time of the year, when it can still get fairly mild during the day, but the nights are absolutely freezing. In the morning, my car is full of condensation and there’s a cold mist over the fields. I took the picture above just outside the office last week, and it shows autumn is on its way! I know there are some countries where you still get 25 degrees in October – the Germans call it “Old Wives’ Summer” - but over here in Ireland, summer often ends with July. 

We still get mild days though. Yesterday morning the world had that dim, misty greyness we usually associate with November. By the time I left work, the sky was bright blue and the sun was shining on a mild 18 degrees. It’s this contrast between day and night that tells me, more than anything else, that autumn is on its way. The equinox is less than two weeks away, it happens on the 23rd this year in the early hours, so actually in the night between the 22nd and the 23rd. What are your plans, if any? I think I’ll focus a lot on balance in my celebration, it’s my life theme this lifetime. 

In fact, I’m managing more and more balance in my life. I have my job and my wonderful, sacred, inspiring Coaching, as well as free time and play. I still don’t have enough time with friends, but it’s a lot better than it was a year ago. And while I still sit on my bum waaaaay too much – at work and also at home, both during Coaching and during gaming – I have started moving again with the free Pilates course at work. It’s a beginning! 

There are different ways to look at balance in life. From a Pagan perspective, I tend to look to nature and its cyclic seasons and moon phases, and that’s a good example of how balance is always dynamic instead of static. Static would mean that nothing ever changes. Dynamic means: you might have a new baby and then you’ll get less sleep and have less time to look after yourself for a while, whilst relationships (with your baby) are high on your agenda. You may take a year off and go big on self care and body fitness for a while, whilst your professional development takes a back seat. But the pendulum always swings back into the opposite direction eventually, and so all in all, you still achieve balance – a dynamic balance. 

I tend to look at four categories and try to do something for myself in all four of them. 

  • Body - currently Pilates, mostly clean eating 
  • Mind – currently learning new things at work, creating, Coaching 
  • Soul – my budgies, connecting with friends and family, playing WoW 
  • Spirit - Pagan practice, walks in nature, meditation 

If I ever have to think about what to write down in one of those areas, it’s usually a sign that it’s out of balance! Then I look at it to determine whether it’s just one of the usual dynamic swings in the other direction, or whether it’s a permanent thing that needs to be fixed. All in all I’m absolutely ASTONISHED at the balance I’ve found. I used to lead a life that was much different. I had lots of people around me, went out all the time, travelled a lot, and never stayed in one place for too long. It was a great way to live for a while although it did leave traces and yes, scars, but it’s just not my way any longer. 

By the way, I don’t believe this has anything do to with age, just with the amount of time of having lived a certain way. After a while, the pendulum longs to swing back. There was a time when I was too closed off, almost a hermit, and now that’s changed too and I’m sort of in the balanced middle. It would almost be static, but there are still and always element which are moving. 

Life’s grand, isn’t it? How’s your balance? 

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Wednesday, 3 September 2014


Last Friday was the big day. 

I had planned it for weeks, and Friday evening after work, I took 100 EUR out of my abundant paycheck (I adjusted other budgets until I had a full 100 EUR available), and went to a shopping mall near my work. The mission was to replenish my stock of non-black sweaters for autumn and winter, and the criteria was only that I had to like them, they had to be at least partially made of natural fibre and not be in a colour I already owned. The latter was easy to accomplish, because after my clear-out frenzy last month I had exactly TWO pullovers left! 

I thought I’d probably get another two with my budget. I strolled through the mall, feeling abundant and glamorous (I was wearing the make-up to boot), and went into every single clothing boutique. To cut a long story short, I ended up with five – FIVE! – sweaters! The picture above shows the bounty spread out on my bed. I love all of them, and they are all at least part cotton. When I had four and had spent 75 EUR, I strolled into another store and saw the bright cobalt blue one on the right. I fell in love. It is over 50% cotton and feels amazing. It also fit perfectly. It was only then that I checked the price tag – 24.99!! I stayed exactly in budget. I love abundance magic. 

I drove home with my shopping bags, feeling ridiculously luxurious and abundant, exhausted but happy. I still haven’t managed to put those jumpers into my wardrobe, they are spread out over the airer where I can see them and grin at them every time I enter my bedroom. I’ll get over it, I promise, haha! 

The above might seem insignificant and mundane to some, but to me it’s such a huge step. I’m abundant, I spend money on myself, but within reason and most importantly, within budget. Ten years ago I didn’t even have a budget. If you don’t have one, I urge you to learn about these things. If you’d like support, consider booking a basic 3-month Coaching package. You'll spend the money initially, but I promise you’ll more than make up for the investment in the months to follow. This is so important, and it’s so liberating! I’ve gone through the money and abundance steps with several of my Coaching clients, and the results were always overwhelming. Seriously, consider it. 

To me, this means that I’m walking my talk. That I really have learned my lesson. That I’m nothing like the person I was ten years ago. I’m now free, abundant, happy, and in control. It feels AMAZING. 

It’s also very fitting that this happened during the Waxing Moon. This cycle I’m growing my abundance and my money muscles! I’m also growing content and happiness. I feel like I’m at the beginning of a phase in my life when things are coming together: I have a lovely job in an amazing, no-BS company, I can foresee having my deposit together next year and coming closer to my dream, I’m happy and settled where I live currently, my business gives me inspiration and happiness, and my finances are solid. 

Again, it’s nothing outrageous or sensational, but looking back, I realise I’ve come a long way from living and working in four different countries, always broke, with no concept or plan, floundering, and finally going into debt. Ten years hard work and education later, it’s actually happening! The work is beginning to pay off. 

It’s definitely no co-incidence that it’s the Harvest Moon this month. I’m loving my harvest so far, and I’m going to celebrate the Full Moon on the 9th in rather more splendor than usual. After that, I’ll be ready for the balance of the Equinox. 

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