Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fall Cleaning

This past weekend Bobby, Rafiki and I went to work on our gardens and yard. When Bobby and I started our new garden in the spring we new it wasn't going to be easy but I personally felt that we would receive some sort of crop from it...and we didn't. Well that is not entirely true becuase for the first time Bobby and I both cultivated our first crop. Our sunflowers grew big and strong this year and when they died we happily collected the seeds to plant next year. This was a learning experience for me because it is another reminder that nature and the natural order of things takes time. A garden is not something that can be perfect in the first year, especially when we are taking clay like soil and working to turn it black and full of life. The garden we planted in will be much better next year and the years to come. Using Bobby's permaculture knowledge and our combined hard efforts we hope to have some crops next year. For fall cleaning in that garden we chopped down the stems of the sunflowers and mulched them. Then we raked leaves from the yard into the garden. We have been doing this for a couple weeks now and there is a nice layer of decaying mulch that is adding to the nutrition of the soil! We have also been burying compost in that garden. I have seen the wonders of composting and am hoping that this soil will really enjoy what the compost can do for it and help the plants to grow strong next year.
Once that garden was done we moved onto the garden the Bobby created 4 years ago. It is a more native species garden. There are species native to AZ and species that survive in the desert climate. In Sedona it does get cold so he had to keep that into consideration and he must have done it right because the plants he picked have grown wonderfully! One of the best growers was the thyme plant. It turned into a field of time. This is a pic of Rafiki playing in it!

We trimmed all the plants in the garden getting them ready for the winter so they can grow back big and strong. We also added layers of mulch to this ground to help further the growth of the garden. Rafiki was helping out by digging a hole for us. He was very proud of himself. One of the plants I was happy to see get trimmed was the rosemary plant. I don't have any fresh homegrown rosemary in my witch cabinet so I thought that cutting the rosemary with a spiritual intention and drying it would be a good chance for me to experiment with herbs more.

While Bobby was busy trimming away, I was working on the weeds. The weeds have gotten a little out of control in a part of the yard so I decided that I was going to get at them. They needed a good talking to. I pulled them out for an hour or so then when I was done I had to make a decision. I wanted to compost them somehow, but as Bobby reminded me since they have stickers and are weeds they could grow back and would benefit no one. So I decided to throw them away, but as I did this I said a blessing over them. I wanted to make sure that I sent the intention for the weeds to grow and multiply in the landfill. I wanted them to help break down all that garbage so that one day instead of toxic waste in the landfill there will be a luscious garden waiting to burst through.
Next come the house and I can't wait to get on that so we can have a safe haven inside durin the winter months!!
I hope everyone is staying warm if it is cold where you are or if you are in the Southern Hemisphere (*cough* Nydia *cough*) enjoy the weather. I hear it is nice!

Blessed Be!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Samhain and the turning Wheel

Samhain was AMAZING!!!
It was a wonderful ritual and so much good energy was raised. This was my second year participating in a Samhain ritual. My mentor Madrone invited me to her house along with 15 other people to gather for Samhain. The difference between last year and this year is that I was going to be "the guide" for our Samhain journey. This meant that when the individual going on the journey started from the fire I would instruct them to pick a black bag to place the items they gathered along their way. When I arrived at the house Madrone, Rich, and Kalaana were getting the house ready and finishing the outside path everyone was going to walk. With all of them running around so much Madrone turned to me and asked me to sage the backyard. I was really excited to be asked to do this because I view saging as setting the stage for the ritual. As I went outside and lit the sage wand, which was from Madrone and Rich's wedding, I cleared my mind and got myself ready to purify the space. As I got the smoke going I imagined all the negative energies leaving and asking that only good and positive energies to move in. I felt as if I was standing in my power in that moment. I took my time doing the saging and when I was finished I felt ready.
Everyone started arriving about an half an hour after I saged. Madrone got her list out and once she saw everyone was here we were ready. To start the ritual we gathered in the kitchen of Madrone's house. We introduced ourselves so that we could loosen the tension and then Madrone explained what was going to happen.
After the introductions were completed Madrone, Betty, and Terez went outside with Kalaana, and Rich. Betty and Terez were the ones that were doing the actual saging. I was at the top of the stairs waiting for all of the facilitators to get in place so I could send the individuals going on the journey down the stairs to be saged. Once they were ready I went into the kitchen to have everyone head to the door to go down to get saged. Everything was going well and we only had 3 people to go and of course what happens? Robyn one of the participants missed the step from the door to the landing and fell down. Luckily she didn't hurt herself too bad, she received a bloody lip, but to be truthful I felt horrible. I felt like I was trusted with guiding all these people to their journey and before we could even start the journey a person fell. After that happened I felt like I was good for nothing. I couldn't sage the area properly otherwise she wouldn't have tripped. But later I found out she tripped over by the Crone so I felt as if it partly was the woman's doing not on purpose but her body had a reason for tripping so often.
Then after all the participants had gone through saging I went threw. Betty and Terez saged us and that I felt a little better.
We gathered around the fire to start the ritual and I read the greeting. It was a welcoming and calling to the audience. The hersotry told us that we would be meeting three goddesses along the way, Babe Yaga, the Shadow, and the Crone. The reading told us to wait in quite gratitude for our chance to journey with the goddesses.
As Baba Yaga rang her bell (not a high pitched bell but a low resounding bell) I would direct the participant to grab a black pouch for items they will gather along the way and send them on their journey. This took almost a couple of hours with 14 of us going on the journey. After the last person left I put out the fire and heading to Baba Yaga myself.
Baba Yaga is the grandmother who lives in the forest. She is not your average normal sweet grandma. Many people think she is an evil crone who lurks in the forests of Eastern Europe with her house made of bones that moves with two giant chicken feet. In her cottage children go missing regularly and for many Baba Yaga is a scary woman. But do not fret, for some Baba Yaga has an important message. During our Samhain ritual Baba Yaga meets you outside of her hut and leads you into the dark hut. Inside it was dark. Baba Yaga tells us that we need to look into ourselves. She handed us a mortar and pestle to smell death
and she asks us what we need to leave behind then leaves us to sit in the darkness.
When Baba enters again she tells us to have courage and that we will move on to the Shadow but that she will always be here in the forest to strip us to our bones. She then hands you a rune to place in you bag.

My rune was Raidho! It is the rune that looks like an R. This rune is the rune of travel. Literally it means journey or ride. This rune is about the journey of life.
From there we move to the Shadow. The Shadow is always hard for me. To look in the mirror and see yourself and what you are most afraid of or worried about is not an easy thing. The way the Shadow was explained to me is that when we meet someone who we cannot get along with or do not particularly like we have encountered our Shadow. It is not something that we want to examine because to do that would mean we would have to fix something about ourselves. It is so much easier to point at someone else who has a characteristic we don't like than to say that is what I do not like about myself and I need to change me first. The Shadow gave us a mirror with an invocation to the dark goddess.
The Invocation says:
Out of the darkness light shines,
In shadow there are lessons waiting
To be brought to light.
The Dark Goddess, Queen of Mysteries
reveals to us truth from the night.

After the Shadow comes the Crone. At the crone you draw a crone card of wisdom and receive a stone from the Crone. She imparts her wisdom and luckily the Crone is my spirit mama and I got some extra wisdom which was wonderful!
After leaving the Crone you journey to the divination room and since I was the last one everyone was stirring around and chit chatting. So once all the goddesses could join us we gathered in a circle for the giveaway. The way the giveaway was explained to me is that it is a Native American tradition that one uses to cleanse and rid yourself of some negative energy or some items that symbolize those feelings. The items do not have to be about negative feelings for example one woman gave a plant away because she was experiencing growth in her life. The funny thing is that she got the plant back in the giveaway, which usually signifies an important lesson for the individual. The way it works is whoever goes first picks the bag they want and whoever's giveaway the got explains what it is. After the explanation the individual who picked it can say how they feel if they would like or just accept the giveaway with gratitude.The wonderful thing is that by giveing up these items you are cleansing yourself and the item of those energies so the next person to inherit them are just blessed with a new gift.
As the people picked bags I wondered who would pick mine. You know the gods certainly have a sense of humor because the person to pick my item was Robyn the woman who tripped. I had been worrying the whole night that she was mad at me and when she grabbed my bag I was in shock. My giveaway had a lot in it. There was a book called witchcraft medicine that I put in there, a small tarot deck, a rune set with book, and a yellow stone from my summer camp. All these items represented what I wanted to accomplish during the Samhain season. Divination and introspection is something that I want so I passed on two of my divination tools. The book and rock symbolized letting go of certain attachments that no longer serve any purpose in my life. They are wonderful memories and I will never forget them but it was time to leave my life.
Once Robyn saw everything she started crying. Apparently she is newer to the craft and she wanted to learn as much as she could but her mind had absorbed as much as she could that night and she was sad. She was sad because she wanted to look up her rune and find out about it but didn't have the energy. She said she was grateful to have reading and new tools to explore with. And just like that we hugged and the universe corrected my night. The giveaway I picked next was Madrone's. I was surprised to get her giveaway. Inside was the abundance candle she created on the Blue Moon on the New Year. I was unable to make that ritual so I am happy that I can not say that I feel like apart of it. Also in there was a picture Madrone took and a moldavite necklace piece!

We ended with wonderful food that everyone brought and I was stuffed. I left that night feel accomplished and enlightened. I had many things to work on during the dark part of the year!
Blessings to all on the introspective journey of the dark season!