Monday, June 29, 2009

Learning and Running

Hi and Merry Meet,
Last night I finished reading Green Witchcraft II by Ann Moura. I enjoyed her ideas and thoughts. I have done the recommended meditations and I am waiting to do the Dark Moon ritual.

I thought a lot about the balance of Life and Death in doing these meditations. You can not have one without the other. That's the way it is. It's like have a pancake (hang in there with me, this should make sense in a second or two.). Pancakes have two sides. One side is always more burnt (well, when I cook, it is) and one side is always less burnt or more golden brown. You butter the pretty side, put your syrup on it and eat it. However, the butter and the syrup soak down though it to the other side. So, you get both sweet and butter and burnt all in one bite. Just like life and death. One side is sweet and butter, and the other is burnt, but the syrup is soaking though it make it as much an adventure as the other side was. Does that make any sense or only to me??

Anyway, I've started the third Green Witchcraft book and I really like it. It is using the first book as a textbook to work though. There are quizzes and assignments to complete. I love things like this because it makes my reading more interactive! Just like my Silver RavenWolf books. I am more motivated to do the work and readings if I know there is a quiz or something coming up. Although, her books are very easy reads and I have enjoyed them a lot!

In other news, I have decided to run a half marathon this September in honor of my mom. I have been running for about a year now. I started because I wanted to run a 5K before my 30th birthday. I made that goal and have been running ever since. This half supports the Arthritis Foundation. My mom has it really badly in her hands and feet. She is talking about giving up skiing because it is getting too painful for her. She is getting help medical, and so this is something that I can do publicly to show her my support. It has become very important to me and I started training seriously for it last month. Please send me your positive thoughts as I train so that I can reach my goal of being able to run the whole thing and cross that finish line still running.... it's only 13.1 miles to the end of the race. I'm gonna need some support! ;^)

Hope you all are having a wonderful Monday!
Blessed be,
Autumn

Friday, June 26, 2009

Stormy Weather

Hi and Merry Meet,
Today we had the most amazing display of Mother Nature's power. She sent us a super thunder storm!

I went out to weed my garden this morning and I'm so glad that I got it done when I did. I was back in the house for about an hour when we got hit with the storm. The thunder started out as a small rumble and built into a roll. It was the most amazing music of the day. The lighting was just flashes at first, then it started streaking across the sky and touched down not too far from my house! The hail started after the rain went from a drizzle to a driving force. I couldn't figure out what the sound was at first! Then I saw it bouncing off my roof to the ground.

The rain was so strong that even with our clean gutters it was spilling over the roof to the ground. It started flowing down the street and the passing cars were fighting against the small river it was making. Streets around us were even flooded due to the amount and the short amount of time it came in.

I loved it, since was in my house just watching it! I sat staring out my front window to watch with wonder as it came down. I love a good storm (well, except when we're camping! HA HA!). We might get hit again tonight with another bout of storms! Yeah!!! I'll so make some popcorn and settle in for a magical night! ;)
Blessed be,
Autumn

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Meditations On Fears

Hi and Merry Meet,
Last night I did some meditation work on what I fear and my thoughts on the shadow side of the Craft. I know that all nature has this side and so in this meditation I faced mine.

I got the frame work from Ann Moura's Green Witchcraft II book. She talks about a secluded cave and how to face your fears so that you grow and are more open to both sides of nature. I did cast a circle for this and found guidance waiting for me in my meditation. It was very enlightening and I learned a lot about myself. I also saw a different face of the Goddess than I have seen before. This was very moving and exciting! Some of the fears I faced were not ones that I thought I would see. It was interesting to see what things I have suppressed and which ones I think I'm scared of. Over all, facing my fears was very positive and spiritual. I know I will do this again in the future when I have fears I need to overcome.

Each step I take feels huge and I am so excited to see what I will learn next!
Blessed be,
Autumn

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shadow Work and Bird Calls

Hi and Merry Meet,
Last night I finished reading Green Witchcraft by Ann Moura. I really enjoyed her writing style and so I started Green Witchcraft II today.

This book is more focused on the shadowy side of the Craft. It's talking about the balance of light and dark. The whole world has both aspects and so do the Lord and Lady. I've only read a little bit so far and I am interested to see what else she has to say.

One thing that she has talked about in the book is a Dark Moon ritual. Recently the one metaphycial shop in town has started to have these as open circles. I missed the frist two that they have done, but hopefully I can get to one! I want to see how it differs from the Full Moon ritual that I attended.

One thing that Moura talks about is doing a meditation to release fears of the shadowy side. I think it would be good to face my fears and to improve myself. This Wiccan journey that I am on is about becoming closer to the Divine and improving myself. How can it get better than that?

One thing that I talked about before vacation was the singing birds. I love this sound! It was so refreshing to wake up to on our vacation. One of the birds that we saw and heard on vacaiton was a Veery. I had never heard this before and we were so excited when one was singing as we were hiking up an old fire road. Here is the video of it... however, don't laugh at the video part. It's only looking at the fire road. Listen close and you can hear the Veery's spiraling downward trill. Check it out:
video
I hope you could hear the Veery! My husband took the video... the reason it is of the road is because we couldn't find it in the trees!!
Blessed be,
Autumn

Monday, June 22, 2009

Litha

Hi and Merry Meet,
Yesterday was Litha. I was so excited to celebrate since it was my first Sabbat since my dedication. I have celebrated two Esbats now and so it this was more or less a first for me.

I made the decision to do my ritual outside. It had rained all day (well, for about two days straight) and so my neighbors were not likely to be out at 8:30 in the evening. It was so beautiful out, and the bugs were out too! My bare feet were a tasty meal for many last night.

Since I was outside and I live in the city, I didn't think that having too many candles was a good idea. So, for my corners, I used four stones that were the same color as the elements that they were representing. I used Aventurine for Earth/North, Yellow Jasper for East/Wind, Red Jasper for South/Fire, and Sodalite for West/Water. I don't have an athame, so I used a big clear quartz point that I have. It felt so right to me as Earth is my element. I wanted to incorporate that into my ritual. I also used a clear quartz for my symbol of the Lady and a black onyx for the Lord. I also don't have a bell, so I just clap my hands.

I don't feel the need for special clothes during my ritual. Since it's only me,the Goddess and the God I feel like they see in me in my p.j's, so my jeans and tee-shirt isn't so bad. I sure others will disagree with me, but that's what feels right to me. Besides, my garden was the backdrop for this and I'm always in a tee-shirt and jeans when I'm out there. How would my plants recognize me if I was all dressed up?? :) Yes, I do talk to my plants! I have always talked to plants, even when I was a kid I did.

It was a very special time for me last night and I enjoyed being able to have my ritual outside. Weather and neighbors permitting, I would love to do more outside.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Litha too!!
Blessed be,
Autumn

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Cave

Hi and Merry Meet,
Yesterday I was able to get a few of our vacation pictures up. I promised Mammoth Cave picts today. After posting, I realized that I only have two pictures of Mammoth Cave. I was not able to take great pictures inside, so we stopped taking the camera. They also have become very strict on what you are allowed to take into the cave now. We could not take the camera case, but the camera was ok. No purses, backpacks, or anything that the rangers could not see into. I have a clear plastic knitting bag and I have a feeling that it would have been ok to take that. I was bummed that I couldn't take my day pack, but I understand the reason behind it. In an effort to make sure that people are not carrying part of the cave home as a souvenir they have really cracked down on the rules. I'm glad because that means it will be there for future generations to enjoy!

While we were there I was so surprised at how many people also were there. When I visited Mammoth as a kid, it was not a popular park to go to. We were able to get on any tour, and they were not full of people. When my husband and I were on our honeymoon (6 years ago), it also was not very busy. This time.... BUSY!!! Most of the tours that we wanted to go on were sold out. We even tried to get onto tours the next day, and they were sold out! On one very selfish hand I was upset because I didn't get to go on the tours I wanted, but on the other not so selfish hand, I'm really glad because people are enjoy this wonderful natural resource that we have!

The one tour that we did get on was four hours long and talked about how people in the past had used the cave. I was so happy! The energy that is in that cave is so amazing. Earth is my element and being in that cave made me feel so connected! My husband just laughed every time I said "I just can't get over how beautiful it is." I think I said that I about 50 times in the first hour. Lucky him! :)
Another tour that we took was a tour history tour of the natural entrance. We were about an hour into the tour when the guide told us that we might have an extend tour due to the fact that a tornado was forming and could touch down while we were on tour. All the lights in the cave are on the surface's grid, so if the surface power is out, the cave power is out. All rangers have several flashlights and very extensive training (I had to ask what it was... they told me the training is this: "remain claim and you are in charge"). Ah, I love government employee training! :)

The tornado did touch down, about 30 miles from us. We however got a thunder storm. It was so amazing! I love watching Mother Nature at work, but I hope that no one was hurt in the tornado or storm. We didn't hear anything other than that it had touched down. The only thing that we didn't enjoy was setting up our tent in the rain!

So, here are my photos that I did take:
This is the natural/historical entrance to the cave. You can walk down without a tour ticket, but you can only go about 100 feet before you come to the locked gate. Yes, they lock you in the cave when you are on the tours! This was taken after I walked into the cave looking out.

This is the waterfall (I really love waterfalls) that is spilling over the natural entrance to the cave. Today is Litha! I am excited to celebrate tonight. It will be my first Sabbat since my dedication. I hope you all have a wonderful Litha!
Blessed be,
Autumn

PS- Sorry that got kind of long! Wow, I had a lot to say about the cave! :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Welcome Home!

Hi and Merry Meet,
We made it home safe and sound very late last night from our camping vacation. We had an amazing time. I loved being out in nature and just being able to appreciate it in all it's glory.

Our first stop was a week in Shenandoah National Park. This is one of our favorite national parks because it is so well cared for and the people who visit it really love it. I think it helps that it is not surrounded by lots of tourist towns and that you have to pay a fee to get into the park at all. One of the things we have noticed over our travels is that national parks that are near tourist towns and are free to enter are not as well respected or cared for. Shenandoah is amazing. We love to hike the trails and just see what kind of fun things come our way. Here are some of things we saw:

Deer are everywhere! We saw a lot of them during the week days where we were the only ones in the camp site. On the weekend, it was very noisy and so we didn't see them as much.
We saw the most amazing waterfalls. Here are two of them:
This one is Doyles Lower Falls on the Doyles River Trail.This one is not a "true" waterfall, but it was the rapids on the Rose River Trail.Here are some of the trails that we hiked:
This one is from the Pocosin Fire Road Trail. This one is part of the Rose River Trail. This is my favorite picture from our trip. It just says it all!

I have so many more shots that I could share but that would make this post really long! I'll put up the Mammoth Cave part next post.

Blessed be,

Autumn

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nature's Music

Hi and Merry Meet,
This morning I was peacefully woken up by the birds singing outside my window. I love that sound! I haven't heard it in a long time for two reasons. 1.) Winter here is bitter cold and I'm not opening my widows in the snow! 2.) My neighbor's cat attacks the birds, so they don't' come around anymore. A few minutes later after getting up and getting my steaming mug of tea, 15 (yes, I counted them) screaming police cars whizzed by my house. I like the birds better.

I was so happy to hear them. I have noticed that we have a Blue Jay living around us somewhere close. It is so nice to see him and I love to watch them. I am worried that the cats outside might get him, but I'm glad to see him when he comes around. I've also seen some robins, starlings, and little chickadees.

In two days time we will be going on vacation! My husband and I really enjoy camping and I am looking forward to it. Which brings me to my other favorite sounds, the crickets at night! Here at home I can't hear them. I can hear police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks roaring by! It's a little loud on my street and so escaping to true nature is very exciting to us. My husband had never camped before we were married and now he is a pro. All of our camping gear is now taking up my living room, however, seeing it all laying out just makes it real that we are going soon!

What kind of things make you happy? Have you stopped and listened to Mother Nature's music recently?
Blessed be,
Autumn

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Flowers, Herbs and a Thank You!

Hi and Merry Meet,
Yesterday I talked a lot about my garden and how it is one of my favorite places. After I posted I realized that I haven't taken any pictures to show you why it is my favorite place.
Here are some shots of my garden. The first one is rosemary:
This is Thyme:
Some chives: Lastly, my Irises: Last night after I posted I found that I had comments on my blog! I was pleasantly surprised and really excited. Thank you to the people who encouraged me in their comments! It really means a lot to me to be supported even if it's only in electronic form. I felt lots of positive energies and I'm sending positive energy back to you! Thanks for the support and the love!
Blessed be,
Autumn

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Garden Time

Hi and Merry Meet,
Today I had some time to spend in my garden. Weeding, pruning, and just enjoying the growing things.

My garden is one of my favorite places to reconnect with nature. I love the green growing things and how all of nature works together in such a small space. I live in a city and my backyard is not so big. When we moved here about 6 years ago, there was no garden. There was only dirt and grass. In the past three years, I have turned the dirt into flower beds and planted something new each year. My first plants were given to me by a friend who is very into gardening. She showed me how to pull the grass out, turn the dirt, and plant the plants in order of height. Before that I had no idea about growing stuff.

In the past few years I have learned to grow plants from seed, grow flowers that can be cut for spells, and make my own sacred nature center in the middle of my urban world. I feel so energized after spending time outside with my plants. My garden is my happy place and I want it to be inviting for all things to feel special when they visit there.

In a more random thought, the moon tonight is so amazing! The energy flowing is so moving!
Blessed be,
Autumn

Monday, June 1, 2009

History Lessons

Hi and Merry Meet,
I love to read and I love to learn. I also love books! However, I find that buying them brand new from Barnes and Noble is way to expensive for me. Luckily, my husband turned me on to half.com. I love it! I can now buy many books for what it would cost me to buy one from Barnes and Noble! The site is owned by ebay, but the books are sold by individuals and they are rated things like "new, like new, good" and so forth.

Last week I ordered the Green Witchcraft series by Ann Moura. I hear about this author from two different people. One was in my tarot class, talking about her book Tarot For The Green Witch. The other was a shop keeper who thought that her Green Witchcraft books would really appeal to me. I ordered all the Green Witch books and her Tarot book too. It cost me a fraction of what I would have spent if I went out and got them new. All the books are new, that is the best part!!

Anyway, I started to read the first Green Witchcraft book last night. I am still reading To Stir by Silver RavenWolf, and Wicca by Scott Cunningham! I have too many books going at one time! However, I like all three authors and their writing styles are so different. Ann Moura gets into history a bit more and the things that she is talking about I find are very interesting. Since she has several degrees in history you can tell it is her passion the way that she writes. So far the book has been a history lesson on traditions and religion in general.

This book right now does not have little practices like Silver's books do, but I love her style of writing and I find it very easy to read.

Here are my "used" books:
Blessed be,
Autumn