“You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.
Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them.”

~ Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull ~

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Being Wiccan I chose to celebrate and give thanks at Mabon which this year was on September 23rd. Mabon is the time of the autumn equinox and the second harvest. Like Thanksgiving, it is when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons and give thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings.

Like Mabon, Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada, but is also celebrated in Leiden, Netherlands and Liberia. Traditionally, it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. While it may have been religious in origin, Thanksgiving is now primarily identified as a secular holiday.

In Canada, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October, which is Columbus Day in the United States. In the United States, it falls on the fourth Thursday of November.

The precise historical origin of the holiday is disputed. Although Americans commonly believe that the first Thanksgiving happened in 1621 at Plymouth, Massachusetts, there is strong evidence for earlier celebrations in Canada (1578) and by Spanish explorers in Florida (1565).

But did you know that Native Americans view this day as a day of mourning? To them it represents oppression, greed, and cultural annihilation. Something they don't teach you in grade school and something I certainly wasn't aware of until I started researching the meaning of Thanksgiving. So for anyone who's interested in reading a book on what really happened at Thanksgiving, try reading '1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving' by Catherine O'Neill Grace. The reviewer states that "it's a well-researched and beautifully photographed account of the Wampanoag side of the events leading up to the first Thanksgiving". And while this book is meant for children ages 8-12 . . . it's on my reading list . . .

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Monday, November 15, 2010

On Turning 50

Well, here I am at last. After a year spent anticipating and dreading this momentous occasion, it's finally here ~ over and done with. I was half-expecting the light bulb to go off. You know. That magic 'Ah-Ha' moment like Oprah had when she turned 50. But it didn't happen. It didn't come.

Instead I'm left with a feeling of peace and dare I say it, contentment. I'm going into the next phase of my life in a good place. I've found my spirituality and am developing it. I'm no longer obsessed with losing weight to fit into a size 6 bathing suit that quite frankly, would look better on a 20 year old. I'm not as concerned about what other people think of me ~ take me or leave me ~ this is who I am. Material things, while nice, aren't the focus anymore. Decluttering and enjoying what I have and finding new ways to use them is. And relationships, old and new, are more important than ever.

So turning 50 isn't quite as bad as I thought it was going to be. Perhaps the next decade will bring unimaginable success, joy and happiness. And maybe that 'Ah-Ha' moment will come when I turn 60 . . .

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Grand Opening of Plume Poppy Designs

I'm really excited to introduce my new Etsy shop to you all! It's called Plume Poppy Designs.

In order to celebrate the Grand Opening of Plume Poppy Designs I am offering free shipping on any item in the shop (excluding dollhouses) until November 21st, so now is a great time to start your Yule or Christmas shopping.

I love the new direction my art is taking me. I hope you will find something at Plume Poppy Designs that speaks to you, either for yourself, or as a gift for a friend or family.

And now for some eye candy . . .

You'll find these items and many more in my Etsy shop 'Plume Poppy Designs'.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

An Excellent Read

I bought this book the other day because quite frankly, I've been feeling a bit discombobulated. I thought it would be worthwhile to go back to the basics and start fresh again while continuing with my current reading and studies.

One should always follow her instincts . . . I was right. While this book is definitely a must for the beginner, and you must remember I started on my path this past February, it is a great book for those who have been following their path for a time, but like me, want to get back to the basics of what it means to be Wiccan.

This book starts with the basics regarding definitions and ethics. It goes into the tools for rituals and rites, covers the mysteries and rituals, other rites and so on. The author, Gary Cantrell, writes as if he's right there with you carrying on a conversation. It's an easy read, and for me, it's put my feet firmly back on my path and I feel much more firm in my hiking boots.

So, if you're just starting out or need a bit of a refresher, pick up this book, grab a nice cup of tea, get cozy under your blankie and start reading. If you're like me, you won't want to put it down.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blessings Abound

'I made it through the wilderness, somehow I made it through, didn't know how lost I was until I found you . . .'

(Madonna ~ Like a Virgin)

Okay, so the name of the song isn't exactly what I was going for, but this line from the song says it all. If you read my previous post, you know that I've had a few discouraging days going through the loss of a friendship because of my beliefs. I questioned myself and those beliefs . . . making it through the wilderness and finding that I'm indeed not lost, that I have so many loving, supportive and encouraging people in my life. Thank you all for your encouraging words and I'm truly blessed that in some small way I was able to help some of you as well with situations in your lives. Blessed Be the Goddess and the God.

And now for some fun! I arrived home from visiting my friend Linda on Friday to find a strange package waiting for me. Brian was giving me the gears for ordering something again (little did I know it was part of his ploy) and I told him I was at a complete loss ~ that I hadn't ordered anything (at least nothing shaped like an elongated triangle ~ wink, wink). So together we tried to get the package open to see what was inside. It was no mean feat! That package was sealed up good and tight!

Do you see the little aura above my hand on the handle . . . a wood spirit no doubt!

Anyway, with a great amount of effort, we managed to get the package open and to my utter astonishment, delight and surprise . . . it was a hand-made broom! Well, the secret, er, the broom was out, and so Brian had to admit that he knew a package was coming for me from my best friend Bernie for my 50th birthday. He's getting so sneaky in his old age!

Yes, it was a beautiful hand-made broom from a company in Vancouver, British Columbia called the Granville Island Broom Company. Apparently Bernie had bought herself a broom while on vacation there in September and upon sitting in her kitchen mulling over what she should get me for my birthday, looked up and saw her own beautiful broom. AH HA moment! So she ordered one up especially for me! And I have to tell you, it's perfect!

Oh, as a side note ~ the Granville Island Broom Company also made brooms for the Harry Potter movies, Bewitched and several other shows.

The broom's handle is made out of Manzanita wood and the bristles are made out of unprocessed broomcorn, a durable natural fiber (it says so on the tag). So now I have a beautiful broom to use in my practice and display proudly in my altar room. It really is a work of art.

So thank you, Bernie, from the bottom of my heart! I can't express in words what this gift means to me . . . I'll treasure it always.

Here's a great link regarding care and feeding of your broom ~ Ancient Broom Lore

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Response to a 'Dear Teresa' Letter

Yesterday was a very difficult day for me. I received a letter from a friend, who, because of my new beliefs, decided that she couldn't be my friend anymore. I'm hurt. I'm disappointed. And at one point I even questioned what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. At the same time, I understand her concerns and her fears. And I understand that I have to let her go because despite the loss, I also realized that I have to follow my own heart and I have to feed my soul in a way that honors me, the Goddess and the God.

I'm more at peace; more in alignment; more fulfilled; more loving; and more understanding of the world and the people in it ~ although admittedly, it is a huge learning curve and there are moments when I think it might be easier to fall back on my old Christian beliefs. But it would be just that, easy.

I'm more conscious of treating the Earth in a respectful manner and have upped my efforts at recycling, even so much as picking up trash on my daily dog walks. I have a hard time killing spiders in my home and where I can I gather them up and whoosh them out the back door. And I don't run the water when I brush my teeth.

I didn't come to Paganism overnight. It's been a long, long process that, if I look back over my life, I believe started when I was a child. I never fit in. I always did the opposite of what other people did or wanted me to do. I was always empathetic to the point of crying over other people's spilled milk. I've also been able to intuit events in my life and I'm very intuitive about people. I've always been in touch with nature and more than anything else, want to be out in the garden or walking in a beautiful conservancy with trees surrounding me.

The real changes started about a year and a half ago. I bought some Pagan and Wiccan books, began reading and after a few months the old fears caught up with me and I put it all away. I delved back into Christianity with a vengeance. I went back to church, joined the choir and even joined a Christian weight loss group. But it never felt right. I was living a lie and I felt like a fake.

In February of this year I made the decision to listen to my heart and to follow it wherever it led me. It led me to Paganism and Wicca in particular. I make no apologies and offer no excuses. This is who I am. This is where I stand.

To those of you who claim to be 'afraid' for me, that I've gone to the dark side, let me try to rest your fears. I am not a Satanist (in fact I don't believe in the devil or 'Satan'). I do not do black magic or voo doo or hoo doo. I am not a necromonger (which means I don't worship the dead). I do not sacrifice goats or any other living creature. I have not joined a cult ~ I am a solitary practitioner drawing elements from all religions, all faiths and from the world around me. I don't live in the dark.

What I do believe are the 13 principles of Wicca:
  1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal Quarters and Cross Quarters (Sabbats and Esbats).
  2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with nature in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.
  3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called ‘supernatural’, but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.
  4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity – as masculine and feminine – and that this same Creative Power lies in all people and functions through the interaction of the masculine and the feminine. We value neither above the other knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sex as pleasure as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energy used in magical practice and religious worship.
  5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconsciousness, the Inner Planes, etc. – and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magical exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.
  6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.
  7. We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it – a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft – the Wiccan Way.
  8. Calling oneself ‘Witch’ does not make a Witch – but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and without harm to others and in harmony with nature.
  9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.
  10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be ‘the only way’ and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.
  11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.
  12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as ‘Satan’ or ‘the Devil’ as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.
  13. We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.
Wicca is a natural religion, grounded in concern for the earth. Some Wiccans believe that all living things (including stars, planets, humans, animals, plants, rocks) have a spirit of some type. Many Wiccan rituals deal with bringing harmony and healing to nature. The vast majority of Wiccans share a great concern for the environment.

Wiccans celebrate the sexual polarity of nature. For example, the fertilizing rain is one manifestation of the male principle; the nurturing earth symbolizes the female. Females are respected as equal (and sometimes at a slightly higher rank) to males.

Sexuality is valued and regarded as a gift of the Goddess and God, to be engaged in with joy and responsibility, and without manipulation or coercion. Wiccans generally accept the findings of human sexuality researchers that there are three normal, natural, and unchosen sexual orientations: heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality.

Wiccans have a wide range of beliefs about life after death, but this is what I believe ~ that the soul goes to Summerland after death. Here, we are met with others who have gone before, review and integrate our previous lives on earth, and are eventually reincarnated into the body of a newborn. I believe that after many such cycles ~ perhaps some as female and others as male; some lives with a high standard of living and others in poverty; some in positions of power and others suffering oppression ~ that the individual accumulates sufficient experience to go on to another level of existence about which we know nothing.

I believe in the Three-fold Law (a.k.a. the Law of Return) The law states that:
"All good that a person does to another returns three fold in this life; harm is also returned three fold". This belief strongly motivates each Wiccan to avoid attempting to dominate, manipulate, control, or harm another person.

I believe in The Wiccan Rede ~ the prime Wiccan ethical teaching:
"An' it harm none, do what thou will", which means to say: "As long as it doesn't harm anyone, including yourself and future generations, do whatever you want to." This has been criticized for being too permissive. However, the Rede is actually quite demanding because it requires a Wiccan to carefully evaluate all of the effects that each of their decisions have on themselves, other people, future generations, the environment, etc.

So there it is, and there's plenty more where that came from. Do your research. Don't judge on what you believe from Hollywood or religious radicals. Think for yourself and most of all don't live in fear. When you learn, when you understand, when you've walked in the other person's shoes, when you've asked the questions ~ then we can all do what we were sent here to do . . . LOVE each other, RESPECT each other and to live in harmony with the Earth and all her creatures.

Excerpt from 'Wiccan Beliefs and Practices' by Gary Cantrell
"I elected to reveal my practice of witchcraft publicly simply because I personally feel that the time for intentionally hiding ourselves has come to an end. We are practitioners of a kind, gentle, and peace-loving religion. We are not the bloodthirsty or depraved, orgiastic fanatics all too often portrayed by the entertainment and news media. The general public has been misled about witchcraft for over a thousand years, and now with our numbers reaching an all-time high, possibly in excess of one million people worldwide, we need to stand up and set that record straight.

We are out there by the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands. We are in the arts, the sciences, and the humanities. We are law enforcement officers, engineers, builders, doctors, and farmers. We are a legally recognized religion under the protection of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and our isolation from the rest of the religious community should and must come to an end. With the phenomenal growth of witchcraft since the 1970s and with the free and easy interchange of information afforded to us by things like the Internet, that time will come to pass and it will happen soon. It may be happening now."
So to that friend . . . I wish you Love and Light on your journey through life on whichever path you choose to follow.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated by many in Mexico and by some Mexican Americans living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration occurs on November 2nd in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1st) and All Souls' Day (November 2nd).

Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Because the Day of the Dead follows so closely behind Halloween, sometimes they're mistaken to be the same holiday, although the two actually have little in common. The Day of the Dead is a time of celebration where partying is common.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern holiday to indigenous observances dating back thousands of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to a goddess called Mictecacihuatl. In Brazil, Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, there are festivals and parades, and, at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries to pray for their dead loved ones. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.

The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico can be traced back to the indigenous cultures. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors have been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years. In the pre-Hispanic era, it was common to keep skulls as trophies and display them during rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.


The festival that became the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the Goddess known as the "Lady of the Dead", corresponding to the modern Catrina.

In most regions of Mexico, November 1st honors children and infants, whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2nd. This is indicated by generally referring to November 1st mainly as Día de los Inocentes ("Day of the Innocents") but also as Día de los Angelitos ("Day of the Little Angels") and November 2nd as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos ("Day of the Dead").

People go to cemeteries to be with the souls of the departed and build private altars containing the favorite foods and beverages as well as photos and memorabilia of the departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so that the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.

Plans for the day are made throughout the year, including gathering the goods to be offered to the dead. During the three-day period, families usually clean and decorate graves; most visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with ofrendas ("offerings"), which often include orange mexican marigolds (Tagetes erecta) called cempasúchitl (originally named cempoalxochitl, Nahuatl for "twenty flowers").

In some parts of the country (especially the cities, where in recent years there are displaced other customs), children in costumes roam the streets, knocking on people's doors for a calaverita, a small gift of candies or money; they also ask passersby for it. This custom is similar to that of Halloween's trick-or-treating and is relatively recent.

Some people believe that possessing Day of the Dead items can bring good luck. Many people get tattoos or have dolls of the dead to carry with them. They also clean their houses and prepare the favorite dishes of their deceased loved ones to place upon their altar or ofrenda.

There are traditions all over the world that celebrate the 'Day of the Dead' and whichever way you celebrate it, I hope that you are blessed with happy memories of those loved ones that have gone before you.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

WhirlWind WeekEnd

My friend Sharon arrived from Pennsylvania on Friday morning and we had the most wonderful weekend together. Friday was spent over a long lunch and then some shopping, followed by a leisurely dinner and an evening of conversation.

Saturday morning we went for breakfast and then down to State Street where all the quaint little shops were waiting for us to browse through their fascinating and wonderous offerings. I don't have to tell you that Sharon and I picked up some pretty fantastic pieces. Which brings me to these . . .

Thank you, Sharon!

Have you seen these? They're called 'Laini's Ladies' and they're fabulous, inspirational and whimsical . . . I love them!

The weather was so fine on Saturday and with it being Halloween, all kinds of people were out enjoying the day. A lot of people were dressed in their costumes which made people watching that much more, ah, interesting.

After State Street we came home for a much needed rest and then it was time to get ready for our evening of Halloween fun! I dressed as a witch, Brian as Robin Hood and Sharon as a washed up beauty queen. I have to tell you though that she's much too pretty to be 'washed up' and try as she might, she was still pretty! We had a wonderful evening of dancing and frivolity and there were some fantastic costumes. Needless to say, I stayed up way past my bedtime, but fell into bed happy, albeit with sore feet.

Most of the pictures taken during the weekend were on Sharon's camera, and she promised me she'd send them along . . . after she recovers! LOL!

It took Bijou until Sunday to warm up to Sharon and they were both nervous and thrilled to make a new friend . . .

Aren't they cute?

Sharon brought me some wonderful gifts which I opened on Sunday. The first was a beautiful and heavenly scented soap ~ which was in a book style case ~ you think she knows I love books?

Look at this pretty wrapping ~ a gift all on its own . . .

The other was my birthday present which she made especially for me. It's absolutely gorgeous and she incorporated charms which are meaningful to me like the bird and skeleton key. Sharon's jewelry is as incredible as the graphic design work she does and if you ever have the chance, treat yourself! (Sharon's blog is 'Plumrose Lane').

Sunday was spent relaxing and I took Sharon for a surprise treat ~ a massage! I think she really enjoyed it by the relaxed look on her face when she was done.

Monday morning came much too quickly and time for Sharon to return home. It was so hard to say goodbye as we had such a wonderful time and have so much in common . . . not to mention that we could talk and talk for hours and hours. We departed each other's company, but are left with happy memories and the knowledge that we've become the best of friends. We're eagerly anticipating our next meeting ~ which for my part can't come soon enough!

I also want to acknowledge my darling husband in all this ~ he's the one who arranged the whole weekend ~ from emailing Sharon secretly, to patiently escorting us around State Street, and being our body guard and designated driver on Saturday night. And did I mention those heavenly fresh baked chocolate chip cookies? Oh yeah, baby! There is no one else in the world like him and I love him dearly . . . Brian life is so much sweeter with you in it . . . I love you!

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