Crafting Variety

Samhein Musings

Blessed Samhein.

The harvest is done and put away. Preparations for the long winter underway. The temperature dips, the clocks are set back, the animals don their winter cTree in Shadowoats.

Hail now the growing dark, for that is when we face the questions from the shadows that linger within. Only in the time of dark are those thoughts freely able to rise to the surface. They are personal. Necessary. Residing within the shadowed places in your body and soul. Accented by questions left unasked.

This is a time of shadow, a dark need arisen.

Remember though, shadows can only exist because the light does. While the uneasy topics rise up and those unanswered questions demand a response, the light will return in its own time.

Until then, sit with those dark places in soulful reflection. From now until the spring, ask the darkness what lessons it has for you. The answers that you didn’t even realize you seek are within.

Crafting Variety

Spirit Animals

spirit animalsI’ve had a number of people ask me about connecting with spirit animals, which is what inspired me to write this post. I’m no expert, but I’ve done a fair amount of research and believe myself to be at least a competent interpreter of messages from the spirit animal companions. I hope you find something useful from this post, whether you are a follower of the spirit animal concept or not. Feel free to reach me at the connections on my contact page if you have any questions.

Why?

The main question is – why does it matter? They’re not real (at least in physical form anyway…), so what purpose does it have to try and connect with something that’s not in corporeal form?

  • They make you stop and think.
  • You have to connect with the outside world and observe nature and its interactions.
  • Using the presence of a spirit animal can help in times of crisis, sadness, or heightened emotion. What you’ve learned by studying the relevant animal may be the catalyst for handling a situation calmly or finding the will to move forward. Alternately, studying an animal with grace, beauty, and power may help translate to your own life.

Finding your Spirit Animal

There is no one right way to figure out your spirit animal. There are many books and decks that highlight the relationships – I generally use Ted Andrew’s Animal Speak, and Medicine Cards. There are also fun online quizzes (yeah, we know not to hold too much belief in what the internet says, right?) along with a great number of knowledgeable people. Specifically, those in Native American cultures, Shamanistic roles, or pagan paths often use animal connections as part of their belief systems. Many are quite happy to talk about such things with people that have an open mind.

Recognizing when animals show up outside of their normal realms is a critical part of determining your connection with them. There are birds and insects and small critters around constantly. What if they show up at the same time or place every day for a period though? It’s not coincidence that animals chose to reveal themselves to you.

  • Look for the not so obvious animals. Yes, it’s easy to want to pick a “cool” animal like the wolf, eagle, or bear, and while those are legit and awesome spirit guides, remember that sometimes the not so obvious ones have just as much to teach us. There’s a great deal of wisdom to be found with animals such as mice, rabbits, and turtle guides.
  • What animal keeps showing up for you? Is there an animal that shows up often when you commute to work? Or shows up online constantly? In your dreams? The snow leopard was like that for me. After continuously showing up in my life – through artwork and social network feeds, it finally occurred to me with a nudge from a friend that the snow leopard was trying to speak to me.
  • What animal makes sense? What animal feels right? Your gut feeling is your best guide after you’ve done all the research and pulled the cards.

Utilization

So you find your spirit guide, or think you have anyway. What’s next? Couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Spirit animals come and go, depending on what you need to learn. There are some that are always with you, but many guides may only be around for a time.
  • Apply their teachings. What’s going on your life? What do you need to prepare for? How are you handling whatever storms are being thrown your way? Do you need to let loose and have some fun, or build your storehouse for the future? Do you need more connection with others or to be more solitary?
  • Determine how multiple animals are working together, even if they feel somewhat contradictory at first.This is a difficult aspect to learn. An example is – both a predator and a prey animal appear as your guides. How do you reconcile the obvious contradictions? What aspects of each animal do you need to focus on, and how do they work together in life’s circle?

Resistance

¬†As important as finding out which animals resonate with you, is finding out which ones do NOT. And why. Are you resisting because you don’t want to admit that the spirit guides are showing you areas you may be weak? Are you ignoring parts of your life or your character that need addressing? The message that these animals have to tell you is important. Do not ignore them just because you don’t want to hear what they have to say. The message will manifest in one way or another until you learn what they have to teach.

Journey

Embarking on a journey with a spirit animal is a challenging and rewarding task. It teaches us to listen, to be open, and to apply what is said to our lives. Doing so can help improve your connection to the world. There’s a lot to be learned about relationships with others, and with yourself, by spending time with your guides. They strip away all that which is hidden in human interaction. Animals are honest, and clear in a way that humans have forgotten how to be. We can learn from that.

Enjoy your journey as you determine your animal guides. If you have questions along the way, don’t hesitate to ask.

Crafting Variety

Yule Conversation

yule altarI come to the goddess imperfect,
Wounded, dragging baggage behind,
Tears leaving streaks,
Through dirt on my face.
Heart weighted with black memories,
Options lost,
Connections ignored,
Heart weary,
Sorrow filled soul.

The goddess does not acknowledge,
Does not ask about the journey,
Does not ask about the open wounds,
Or the scarce healed scars.

She speaks with ancient knowledge –
I do not ask
I’ve felt each lash endured, self inflicted or not.
She gazes upon me, resplendent, whole,
Answers my unasked questions.

Daughter, while I felt your pain,
I did not let it linger
I felt each hurt and honored it.
Each a chance to grow.
Scars mold who you are
Learning molds who you become.
Know the past, but
You are not there.

What will you do now that you’ve arrived?
Your journey led you here
To the well of renewal.
Do not walk that path again
For recognition,
Walk beside me now.
We shall go forth healed,
The present will lead you forward.

Walk with me.
And I do.

Amy Dionne, December 2014

Crafting Variety

It’s ‘Happy Holidays’ for a reason

imageI get it. The world is far too PC these days, with everyone treading on thin ice to speak appropriately without offending someone. Nowhere is this more pronounced than with the upcoming Christmas season. Yes, I know it’s hard for teachers when they can’t do more than a winter celebration. Our society tends to go overboard – either we celebrate all holidays or none!

This PC overload tends to have another drawback. The Christian crowd are up in arms every year talking about taking back their holiday. It’s ‘Merry Christmas’ and a ‘Christmas tree’ as they put up their nativities and make a show of actually going to church and making sure their cards let you know damn well that they are Christian and proud of it. That’s great. Good for you. I realize Christmas is the dominating holiday this season, with a majority of those that live in the U.S. celebrating it. I grew up Christian and still celebrate a secular Christmas.

Ya know what though? Christianity isn’t the only religion here, and certainly not the only one to have a holiday around this season. How many people do you know that are Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, pagan, atheist, and many others that I am woefully ignorant about? Perhaps not many. Why? Because many of them quietly go about celebrating their holidays, or non holidays as the case may be, and continue their days without making a fuss. The instant they try to say something more than ‘Merry Christmas’ they get attacked by the believers for stealing their spotlight for the season.

Can we just all agree to drop the attacks, people? I don’t want to take away from your holiday celebrations. Nor do I want mine diminished. Would it be the end of the world if I wished someone a Happy Solstice or Blessed Yule? No, you automatically start to say, but I see the hesitation in your eyes. My purpose is not to make others uncomfortable, but it gets tiring always having to put my celebrations in the back corner because they aren’t the norm, nor are they comfortable. Following my path and my celebrations only affect me. That’s it. There’s no war on you or your beliefs.

Freedom of religion means ALL religions, (at least here in the U.S.), not just the commonly accepted ones. Go forth, celebrate, make merry, and let me do the same. If as a pagan my holidays bother you, feel free to ignore me, unfriend me, do whatever you need to. Just don’t get in my face and say that I’m undermining your holiday. All I want for you is peace. You want the same thing? There. We agree.

Peace, and Happy Holidays.

(Note: While I am happy to engage in discussion in the comments, if you attack, badger, or be mean spirited in general, you’re out. Respect for all should not be that difficult a concept.)

Crafting Variety

Solstice Reflections

stonehenge

I’m going to reflect on the Solstice briefly tonight, so that I can get back to honoring the earth and her keepers.

What does Litha mean to me?

  • Balance – Days and nights, swapping their time with each other between winter and summer. Warm and cold, light and dark. They return full circle.
  • Connection – As I linger outside, surrounded by green, I feel fully connected to the earth. I see the messengers in the birds, the animals, even the insects. We’ve emerged from our winter and spring shedding layers and breathing in the sun.
  • Heart – The pulse of the sun strengthens, echoing through my blood. The core of the earth, its people, all of its living beings are affected by the shift in the energy.
  • Energy – The pull of the moon and the planets draw us together.


  • I am grateful for the blessings I have, and the ease that the earth provides us during this time of year. Survival is not as much of a struggle in the summer as we will not freeze to death, and the harvest will be on the heels of the solstice. Yet in all things there is balance, and even as we celebrate the light and warmth, the earth reminds us that soon we will be preparing for the opposite. Both cycles have something to teach us, and our transitions are easier when we’re plugged in. We know the subtle changes the earth makes in preparation. We learn to listen in our bones and our blood, feeling the minute adjustments. Be prepared, and learn the earth’s changes. When you do, the seasonal transitions will not be so abrupt.

    Bright blessings.

    Image courtesy of Worakit Sirijinda / FreeDigitalPhotos.net