Author Archives: Aisling

About Aisling

Writer and wanderer full of whimsy and wonderment.

Ritual Calendar – March

I realize that it’s no longer March, but better late than never, right?

 

March Ritual – Seeds of Change

Timing
  • Any time during the month.  Note that this one requires a commitment to care for a plant over time.

Themes

  • Change
  • Growth
Purpose
  • Manifest growth
  • Create positive change
  • Honor the elements
Preparations
  • Gather supplies as needed. At minimum, seeds and water needed, along with a suitable location to plant the seeds.
  • Before beginning, determine what change is most needed and/or desired in your life over the long term.  This working takes time to manifest, so slow changes are usually best for this working.
Ritual- Minimalist Version
  • Plant seeds in an appropriate place while visualizing the change that you want to manifest.  Imagine the elements providing the seeds with the energy that they need to grow. Envision this change any time you water or feed the plant.
Ritual- Full Version
  • Delineate ritual space as preferred. Keep in mind that the space will need to contain the spot where the seeds are to be planted, so if sowing them directly into the ground, plan your ritual space accordingly.  Within the ritual space, place any garden tools you might need, the seeds, and a container of clear water.
  • Enter the ritual space and call upon any deities or other helpers that are appropriate to your path and/or the changes you wish to make.
  • Dig a hole in the ground (or pot) in preparation for planting.
  • Hold the seeds in your hand and say “With air, I breathe life into you.”  Blow gently on the seeds (take care that you don’t drop them).
  • Hold the seeds up toward the sun and say “With fire, I guide you upward.”  Place the seeds in the earth and cover them, saying “With earth, I root you.”  Pour water over the ground while saying “With water, I nourish you.”
  • When all has been done, state over the newly planted seeds “With spirit, I change you.”
  • Spend some time imaging the plant as it grows and changes and as it does, envision the changes that you wish to make manifesting themselves.
  • Offer thanks as appropriate.  As per your particular practice, break the ritual space and exit the area.
  • You’ll need to weed, feed, and water the plant regularly to provide energy to this working.  As you do this, you can speak the words “By earth and water, by air and fire, by spirit sealed, manifest the change I desire.”

Modifications and Notes

  • Using salt to mark out the ritual space boundaries is not recommended, as this can kill vegetation.
  • Plants should be chosen carefully and can be done by using magical correspondences.
  • If beginning a plant from seed isn’t feasible, this working can be done using a small plant and transplanting it into the ground or a new pot.
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Odds and Ends

I’m running a bit behind with everything at the moment, so just a few brief tidbits until I can catch up properly.

March’s ritual will hopefully be posted this week.  I’ve written a rough draft of it, but haven’t managed to polish it up yet.  April’s ritual is a work in progress. I’m not sure that it will be meaningful for most, as it pertains to specifically to the threshold work that I do, but it too will be posted soon (well, by the end of April).

Loki is still making his presence felt. I want to reflect a bit more on what’s been happening on that front before I write more about it.  Also, I don’t think that he’s quite through stirring the pot yet and I’d really like to know where he’s going with this before I either praise or curse him for it.

I’ve been feeling a bit of disconnect from my Lady as of  late, so I outright asked what She wanted of/from me right now.  The answer came in a dream.  Funnily, it was very specific – that She wanted the large ‘red and gold’ statue put on some shelves that I’d just put up, along with a canopic jar to keep the names of those who had died during the year.  I own neither a red and gold statue of Herself nor a canopic jar… or at least didn’t at the time.  I was in an antique store later that week and found both a large statue of the lady trimmed in red and gold along with a miniature canopic jar.  Needless to say, they both came home with me and a set of wall shelves have now become a floating altar.  I do like it when the gods are clear and precise in what they expect.

As for some of the sore spots mentioned in previous posts, things are still fairly raw right now.  Sam is recovering – slowly and painfully- but fully in the land of the living again.  I am just beginning to process this train-wreck of events in a meaningful way, but find that even on the nights that I can pry my thoughts away from the situation, I am not sleeping well and waking up dozens of times,  feeling panicked and choked.  Daylight hours are more manageable at least, although I’m pretty fatigued most of the time.  Recovery will take time, I know, for all involved.   In the meantime, we all are muddling through the best that we can.

That’s enough for now, as I’m stifling yawns even as I type. More details on everything later… after a few nights of uninterrupted sleep.

 

 

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Breaking the Cycle

“Maybe I have been here before.
I know this room. I’ve walked this floor.
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve sen your flag on the marble arch.
Love is not a victory march.
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.”
- Leonard Cohen, “Hallejuah”


Since this refrain has been looping through my head all week, perhaps it’s  fitting introduction to this month’s Cauldron Blog Project theme: Calendars, Cycles, and Patterns.  While I love the idea of spiritual calendars and finding patterns in my work, there are some cycles that are actually detrimental to my practice.  The fact that I’m walking around with the above song stuck in my head is a fair indicator that I’m deeply enmeshed in one of those cycles – one in which I find myself scrambling for any scraps of self-love and self-worth that I can find.

The last few weeks have been difficult.  Things that are happening now carry the echo of old hurts.  Patterns of behavior that began with one or another painful event in the past are being repeated now, much to the detriment of myself and others who would be a part of my life.   Seeing these patterns reemerge has given me the chance to see that the tools I used to cope at the time were not – and still are not – the ones that I actually needed to process those events in a way that was healthy.  I’ve persevered, but in doing so, caused lasting harm in other ways.  In trying to deal with pain in my own ridiculously stubborn and independent way, I have closed myself off from meaningful connections with others, nursed a deep-seated distrust of others’ motives, and created a mental framework that does not allow me to either love or trust deeply.  Yes, a few people did some pretty awful things to create this outlook, but I’ve come to realize that while I cannot change what happened, I could have reacted to it in ways that were less self-destructive.

So what to do to break the cycles that are detrimental?  Simple: Learn to trust again.  Find a way to love that is sustainable and nurturing.  Ask for and accept help when I need it instead of insisting that I can handle everything on my own.  Communicate what’s happening below the surface, particularly when it involves others.  Focus on the rewards of opening myself to others rather than the risks and dangers.  Cope with the fallout of what’s happened without withdrawing or shutting down. Admit my own shortcomings and failings without endlessly being plagued with self-doubt.  Accept that what has happened cannot be altered, that I can only change the way I react to it. Be wholly present in this world when not actively engaged in shadow or threshold work.  Find a way to accept that not having all of these skills already does not make me in fatally flawed or unlovable.

Alright, maybe this isn’t so simple.  One step at a time, I think, beginning with enlisting the help of others.  I did reach out to other people this week , to ask for general emotional support and to schedule counseling.  It doesn’t like much, does it?  Such small steps, such giant leaps, to break the cycle.

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The Temple of MSB: Poking the Sore Spots

A couple posts ago, I mentioned that I “won’t be doing any trail running in the foreseeable future.”  The unforeseeable future was another matter entirely.

Today I ran.

I ran because every single sore spot of my being has been poked and prodded in the last few weeks. I ran because I am tired of being held back by my own body’s failure to function correctly. I ran because February saw the deaths of five people with whom I was acquainted. I ran because I have spent the last few weeks once again dealing with an individual whose sociopathic behavior made my life a hell for far too long.  I ran because the person to whom I feel most connected nearly succeeded in ending his life.  I ran because I was reminded in a painful way of why I find trust and love difficult.  I ran because there has not been a moment this week, not even in sleep, when I’ve been able to process everything that is happening. I ran because there was no other outlet for the anger, anxiety, and fear that all of these things are creating.

I ran until my knee buckled, leaving me sprawled face down in a muddy patch of trail.  Falling made me furious, mostly at myself for being such an idiot.  The questions came screaming through my head loud and clear: When are you going to stop running from things that cause you pain? When are you going to stand and face your fears?  When are you going to stop letting your life be controlled by pain?  When are you going to thank that handsome guy Loki for all of his help lately?

What? Wait a minute…

Well now, that would explain a lot, particularly why a lot of hidden truths have been coming to the surface lately and why masks are getting ripped off of those who would wear them.  Why I’ve had a compulsion to burn red, orange, and yellow candles. Why I have been finding weird ‘goodies’ in my shopping cart that I didn’t put in there  (today it was Pop-Rocks and Cheerwine).  Why my mp3 player will not stop playing Combichrist’s “Kickstart the Fight” no matter how many times I try to delete the song.  Okay, maybe I’ve been a little slow on the uptake, but I’m fully aware now that Loki is not just lurking but actively ‘helping’.

Does anyone need one slightly used and somewhat demented trickster deity? Free to a good home, but I won’t promise that he’s housebroken.

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Waiting…

 

Trigger Warning: This post is about one aspect of my threshold work and was composed as a personal narrative earlier today as I sat by a friend’s hospital bed.  Because it touches on the potential loss of a loved one in a  personal way, some folks may find it difficult to read.

There are times on this path of mine, particularly in doing threshold work, in which all I can do is wait and try to prepare for what comes next.  There are times when I have to sit on my hands and wait, because the next move is not mine to make.

I am waiting as I compose this post, notebook perched on one knee as I hold vigil next to Sam’s hospital bed.  His daughter watches me surreptitiously.  She’s not entirely sure of me, nor I of her.  We’ve only met twice prior to her panicked call to me last Sunday, telling me that they’d just arrived at the emergency room and confessed in a whisper that she was scared.  She’s still frightened a day later, afraid that if she lets go of her father’s hand, he might slip away in that moment.  It’s her ritual during this time of waiting.  She will not leave his side unless I take Sam’s hand in her stead. So I play this game of hand holding when she needs to step away to cry in private.  I know that need well – I did the same when my own father was in the CICU prior to his death.

Sam is waiting too… his body continues to function thanks to a tangle of wires, tubes, and machinery.  His soul is wavering, though, not quite ready to let go this life and yet not sure if it should remained tied to his broken body.  I’ve made the first move – I’ve stepped into that place where he lingers and asked if he is ready, if he needs my help.  He is uncertain.  The pull is strong in both directions and so he remains, not quite fully connected to the physical body, but unable to leave it entirely behind.  I tell him that he can decide in his own time, that I will be here if he needs me, and I leave a foot in that place where he lingers and a foot in the reality of the hospital room.

We wait in relative silence for his decision.  His daughter ventures to speak only rarely – asking me if I can ‘sense’ anything, if he is dying, if her mother is there with us.  Yes, I tell her, her mother is here, watching over them both as she always has.  I cannot, will not, tell her of her father’s uncertainty, that even if he chooses to remain, his body may not be strong enough to survive this.  I leave it to the doctors to warn her that ‘it is too soon to tell’.  They soothe her with their assurances that he is resting comfortably and is not in pain.  They cannot see the spirit that stands beside the bed, looking puzzled and concerned at the body that it had occupied.  I am glad that they cannot see this; I am glad too that Sam’s daughter is head-blind. Seeing what I see would be of no comfort to her.

For me, this time of waiting requires an unwelcomed emotional detachment.  I want to able to sink into my own grief, to cry my own tears of fear, to remember the moments that bind me to Sam.  What I want doesn’t matter however.  Sentimentality and nostalgia are luxuries that I cannot afford right now.  I need this waiting time to plan, chess-like, several moves ahead, what I will need to do if he decides to go.  There is time now to prepare myself for the work that will be required.

So I make plans – how to best guide Sam and to help him sever the ties that hold him here, what to do for his daughter in the hours that will follow, what prayers might best be spoken, what deities I might call upon for assistance without conflicting with his strongly held religious beliefs and without compromising my own.  I contemplate leaving all of this to his clergy, to withdraw myself from the spiritual side of this situation and willingly take on only the role of concerned bystander. I convince myself in this moment that my beliefs, my gods, my work might not be welcome.  I worry that I am intruding on moments that his daughter might feel should be hers alone to share.

As doubts creep over me and I contemplate leaving, I hear the whisper, a faint rustle of sound.  Wait, he asks, please wait. I reach for his hand and offer a silent plea to my goddess for the strength to do the most difficult thing – to simply wait…

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