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Archive for the ‘animals’ Category

The sun is shining today.  I felt it would be a Druidic sin to stay inside so I donned my winter gear and headed to the forest!  I spent a few moments with a birch tree but grew distracted with how active the chickadee population was.  Without so many deciduous leaves hiding them, birds sure stand out!

In the end, I found myself mostly engaged with deer tracks.  They were everywhere!  I followed a few until I couldn’t determine where they went.  It’s an interesting way to live vicariously through a Nature Spirit for a short time. You see where they pawed through the snow for a meal, where they defecated, and where they slept.  You see that they prefer to walk in certain places over others and you learn from them how to navigate in the woods.

As feline as I often feel, I cannot deny the pull the deer have on me as well.

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In my early days of Pagan study and worship, it was easiest for me to connect with and understand the Nature Spirits.  I was raised to respect them and even taught by my mother to believe in fairies and unicorns, even if they were part of a different reality than our own.  As time went by, I forged some bonds with deities, but it wasn’t until taking up the Dedicant Program that I was truly able to feel connected to and understand the Three Kindreds of Nature Spirits, Ancestors, and Gods.

While I very much believed in the unseen Nature Spirits as a child, I was more aware and interested in the visible and tangible.  I have always cared deeply for plants and animals and have been an environmentalist from an early age.  As I grew, my animism developed and I came to the realization that there really was more to the natural world than met the eye.  As a child, I was bombarded with the modern myth of fairies – little, beautiful creatures with wings and fairy dust.  I am still very much attracted to this image and often incorporate such creatures into my artwork, but I’ve come to realize that the Spirits of Nature are as varied as people and that they can be perceived by humans as beautiful, silent, loud, mischievous, disgusting, and, perhaps, aggressive. While some are weaker than humans, others are much, much stronger. Studying Irish folklore and mythology has given me a more mature frame of perception in regards to the Nature Spirits.   They are, indeed, the unseen forces of nature that can be creative, like a spirit attached to a garden, or destructive, like the Pooka of Irish lore, and they can come in any guise.  In my own spiritual work, I’ve found that I believe that all beings, even the rocks and trees, have souls, and so I feel that they are also Nature Spirits worthy of respect and, in some cases, veneration.

So how do I perceive the Nature Spirits?  They are the birds and the song that they sing.  They are the rocks in the earth.  They are the drops of rain.  They are the wind rustling the trees.  They are the sequins of sunlight that splash through the forest canopy.  They are the trees, alive and decaying.  They are the dandelions poking up through cement sidewalks.  They are the ferrets cohabiting with me in my bedroom.  They are the unseen creatures that move my things without any explanation. They are the rotting corpses of animals on the streets.  They are the diseases that we get.  They are the unseen forces in the dark.  They are at work outside making the flowers and vegetables grow. They are present within the upper, middle, and lower worlds and represent all the elements.  I believe that my existence is inextricably linked to theirs and so they deserve to be honored and treated with respect, like brothers and sisters who have their own wants, needs, and motivations.  I may not always like what the Nature Spirits have in store, but I’m sure they don’t always agree with me either!  As with human siblings, we have to give and take equally and learn to live in harmony with each other.

I am always trying to stay connected with my brothers and sisters or nature, as well as the Earth Mother, whom I see as a Goddess and mother of all life.  I try to learn about the seen and unseen Nature Spirits, and I try to live in harmony with them through environmentalism and vegetarianism.  I thank them before eating.  I remember them in my rituals and make offerings to them.  I’ve kept in mind that some offerings may be harmful to nature spirits, and so I avoid chocolate and sharp objects left out in the open.  My favorite offerings to give are flowers and birdseed.

I will speak of the Gods next, not because they are less important than the Ancestors, but because my relationship and familiarity with them was the easiest for me to experience next.  Despite my Roman Catholic upbringing, I always had a fascination with mythology from a very early age.  One of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons was a series of animated Greek and Roman myths.  The exploits of Herakles, Castor, Pollox, and Jason mesmerized me and the Gods captivated my imagination.  Visiting museums and seeing statues from Egypt amazed me.  Who were these mysterious beings?  The statues exuded a power.  For me, this power was a calling and made me want to dance. I continually felt the pull of the Old Gods.  The more I read about them and devoted time to them, the more they seemed to “talk” to me. At first, it was difficult to go from monotheism to the duotheism of Wicca.  There was a certain taboo about it and, with it, a certain fear of the unknown.  Gradually, I started to form a relationship with Gods and Goddesses.  First it was the Greek and Egyptian Gods, probably because I was most familiar with them.  I had dreams of Dionysus and Bast.  It was easy as an eclectic Wiccan to worship both at the same time, but it wouldn’t satisfy me for long.

Here I am, a few years later, worshiping the Tuatha de Danann of the Irish.  I don’t know how it happened, and it was probably through my love of Irish music and Arthurian myth, but I was called by the Old Gods of the Green Isle, the home of my ancestors.  As with the Nature Spirits, studying Irish myth and legend has helped me to understand the Tuatha de Danann immensely.  Studying the myths and legends of other cultures has deepened my awareness of many other deities.  My Roman Catholicism and its veneration of various saints helped ease me into polytheism, and I now consider myself a hard polytheist.  I believe that, for the most part, the Gods can reside in any of the three realms and often interact with and interbreed with the Nature Spirits.  Because the Gods are so tied to the land and various natural phenomena, they further sanctify the environment.  Some of the Gods, like the Tuatha de Danann, are local deities and so I’ve come to believe that they mostly live in Ireland.  The same is probably true for other deities as well, such as Aphrodite dwelling primarily on the island of Cyprus.  However, as the Gods are more powerful than humans, I believe that they can interact with humans who are far from their sanctuaries.  While I don’t believe that you have to be Irish to love and worship the Tuatha de Danann, I can’t help but feel that my connection to them is partially due to my blood ties to Ireland.  I feel that it enables an easier connection. I also feel that repeated ritual and interaction with certain deities at an altar or through a talisman can, in some way, create a home away from home for them and that their energy becomes imbibed in foreign places where they are frequently made welcome (such as the powerful seeming statues in museums).  I also think that Gods associated with certain energies, such as arts, can manifest while a person is tapping into those energies.  I believe that the Gods are the most powerful and wise of the Three Kindreds and that they know how to use magic in ways that humans can only dream of.  Like the Nature Spirits, and like human beings, I believe that the Gods are all individual and have their own personalities, faults, and motivations.  Many, like Brighid, Odin, Thor, or Prometheus, have given us different arts and protect humanity.  Others, like the Morrigan or Loki, are a bit harder for me to understand and seem more interested in protecting the land or chaos rather than the tribe.  I don’t consider them evil – they have their place, but they can be hard for humans to relate to. As a former Catholic, it is hard for me not to subjugate myself to the Gods.  I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing to do, but I think the Tuatha de Danann, or the Gods of any other Pagan culture, prefer that their followers view them more as kin – incredibly powerful and wise kin – but kin all the same.  I envision them to be a bit like parents, teachers, or tribal leaders.

I try to connect to the Gods in many ways.  The first is through study.  My fascination with mythology and ancient history has eclipsed all other academic interests.  Not only am I learning about other cultures and world history, but I am having fun as it is intrinsically satisfying.  Perhaps it is because through study that I am able to get to know the Gods and the other Kindreds and so my soul becomes happy.  I also connect to the Gods through ritual, meditation, prayer, art, and dance.  In ritual, I am able to express my love for the Gods and honor them for their many blessings.  In meditation, I am able to contemplate and maybe even receive a message from them.  In prayer, I talk to them.  I mostly thank them for any number of things, but there are times when I ask for help as well.  I always ask that Lugh, protector of travelers, and Cernunos, the Gaulish God of animals, protect me or those I love while on the road.  I also pray in thanks before each meal.  I feel that I’m able to connect to the Gods through art and dance because those activities connect me to a very spiritual part of my brain and soul and allow me to open up to the inspiration of the Gods, especially to Brighid.  Dance is especially helpful because it can put me into a trance and open me up in ways similar to meditation.  Another way I show the Gods I care is through service to them and the other Kindreds.  By leading rituals and keeping to my oaths, I am building lifelong relationships with allies who deserve to be honored due to their many positive influences in my life.  I no longer consider myself an eclectic Wiccan duotheist but a hard polytheist, a priestess to the Tuatha de Danann, and a Druid in training with Celtic Reconstructionist tendencies.  I feel that the Tuatha de Danann called me to this.

Finally, ADF has helped me form a closer bond with my ancestors.  When I began to study and practice Paganism, I didn’t consider my ancestors as part of my belief system.  I knew that Native Americans and Shintos highly honored their dead and, in some instances, created altars for them.  The only real emphasis on the ancestors in Wicca was to remember them on Samhain.  There were a few Samhains where, indeed, I felt their presence strongly. Some books recommended that special altars be made, or that places be set aside for the ancestors at a Samhain meal.  I never really did that – at most I threw some bread out for the souls of the dead as an afterthought.  As a whole, it felt that Wicca only honored the ancestors on a certain holiday and forgot about them for the rest of the year.  Because of this, my connection with the ancestors was not considered and not developed until I began my Druidic studies.

A year or so before my calling to Druidry, my Aunt Debbie died of cancer and I felt that I should do something special for her on Samhain.  I made her a bouquet of evergreens as I felt they symbolized never ending life.  I wasn’t sure where her grave stone was (indeed, she had yet to have a stone installed), so I tossed the bouquet into the air and did not look back at where it landed, content to believe she caught it.  I did not even think that throwing it meant the bouquet was trash rather than a gift.  To me, it was the easiest way to make an offering to her.

As I’ve progressed through ADF, I’ve felt a stronger pull to my ancestors.  It feels as if they are happy to be part of my daily practice.  I light a candle for my ancestors as part of my daily ritual.  At larger holidays, more is offered.  I feel like the ancestors really do watch over us.  Whether they are right with us or watching from a distance when they feel it necessary, I do not know.   Celtic lore says that the dead go to the Otherworld, and I do believe in such a place, but I can’t help but feel that they are able to communicate with us in some way, especially around Samhain and Beltaine.   I believe that care and concern do not end at death.  I also believe that some of the dead can get trapped in the world of the living as ghosts.

I would like to honor more of my ancestors on Samhain such as my Grandmother and Grandfather.  Truly, I think of my ancestors every day now, but I feel that the entire day of Samhain should be planned around visiting the graves of relatives.  Honoring ancestors needn’t only be about immediate relatives or even recent friends and relations.  When I visited England a few years ago, I felt very connected to the land.  I was very much aware of a presence linked to my own blood.  As I toured historical landmarks like White Tower, Westminster Abbey, or even Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris or St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, I felt as if I was connecting with people from long ago.  I was so aware of the feet that had walked where I was walking, wearing down the stone steps until they were smooth with time.

Today I do my best to honor and remember my ancestors.  I make offerings, verbally thank the ancestors, read their stories, research their land, and anticipate visiting my ancestral homelands.  We are here because of our ancestors and we should not limit our celebration of them to one day in the year.

Because the ancestors are human, it seems that they would have been the easiest for me to connect to.  It may have something to do with my grandfather’s obsessive interest in genealogy.  I’ve had my ancestors pounded into my head since a very young age, so I may have been resistant to thinking any more about them.  I’ve also considered their humanity to be a deterrent, possibly because I’ve viewed them as just mundane humans who died a long time ago. To a younger me, otherworldly beings were infinitely more fascinating.  Having matured, I’ve realized the importance of family and heritage.  I am proud of where I come from.  I often ponder my Irish and Germanic background.  I worship the Tuatha de Danann, but I sometimes feel the pull of my Germanic ancestors.  I sometimes wonder if there is an easy way to integrate the two hearth cultures together to satisfy my gene pool.

The Three Kindreds have many differences, and yet they have many similarities too.  This essay could extend for pages as I contemplate the many ways that they overlap.  Their main similarity, as far as I’m concerned, is that they have made my spiritual path seem whole and balanced.  Honoring the Three Kindreds not only helps me to form bonds with the Gods, but it keeps me connected to the Nature Spirits with whom I cohabit, and helps me to remember my very large, very extended family.  I am grateful to have grown closer to the Nature Spirits, Ancestors, and Gods and hope that my ability to honor, love, and worship them deepens and matures with the years.

 

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It was always easy for me to connect with The Nature Spirits.  Upon reflection, I must confess that it was the Nature Spirits who originally helped me decide to turn to Paganism.  I’ve always been an environmentalist.  At a very early age, I started to learn about animals, ecosystems, and the huge amount of damage humans were inflicting upon the Earth Mother and her children.  At the age of five, I was making “Save the Rainforest” posters with crayons and construction paper.  I hung these at the local ice cream and candy shop.  At the age of eight, I became a “beady-eyed vegetarian” and only ate white meat.  At seventeen, I became a full-fledged vegetarian and am still one to this day for environmental reasons.

My parents raised me to care about nature to some degree or another.  My mother taught me compassion for all living things.  I was warned to never to step on an ant because, one day, I might be that ant.  I learned very quickly that animals do have a soul and emotions.
Even now I can’t help but put myself in their place and imagine how they feel.  My father taught me how to grow gardens full of vegetables. Out of his interest in camping, he taught me simple survival techniques such as fishing, boating, and how to make fires.  He always did so with reverence.  He was a volunteer fireman and taught me that nature, like fire, was to be honored and respected because, just as it could give life, it could also take it away.

I took the teachings of my parents to the next level and came to the conclusion that nature was worthy of worship.  I discovered Paganism around the same time I was becoming a full-fledged vegetarian.  I was amazed that there were contemporary religions in existence that not only honored but worshiped the Earth Mother and her creatures.  I felt like I had come home. This went along well with my maturing environmentalism and vegetarianism.  While I will be the first to say that Pagans aren’t required to be vegetarians (nor should all vegetarians be Pagan!), I do think that environmentalism and, therefore, conscious eating, should be a requirement.  This also isn’t to say that all environmentalists must give up eating meat – simply that it’s important for us to consider where our food comes from.  This train of thinking carried me to vegetarianism, but if it carries others to hunt for or raise their own meat, I believe that those are also conscious, eco-friendly approaches to eating.

Eating local vegetables and fruits has also become important to me.  While it’s harder to do so in the winter, I do my best to purchase organic food to avoid chemicals. My goal is to one day eat locally and within season.  Some environmentally-minded friends and I are going to learn how to can and preserve food this autumn so that we can eat local food in the winter.  In the meantime, I’m working on a small vegetable garden.  Working with the soil, water, and sun to bring life out of little seeds has helped me to connect to the life cycles of nature.  Politically, I’ve started to write letters concerning agriculture and the environment to my representatives, and I am currently working on a letter to send to a local Pagan Pride event in regards to the food offered.

I feel lucky to have grown up in a largely rural area.  While I’m certainly not a scholar on the local flora and fauna, I’m always surprised when Pagan authors suggest that a good way to start forming a relationship with the Earth is to learn about such things as what type of birds live in one’s area, what the first flowers to appear in the spring are, and what plants you can eat.  I sometimes take it for granted that I was able to observe these things first hand or learn about them from knowledgeable adults.  I’ve always been a student of nature but I still have much to learn.  I have an interest in sustainable living and thus I would like to learn about the many edible plants in my own yard.  I’ve purchased some books and have gone to some workshops, resulting in some interesting experimental salads!

In addition to healthy, conscious eating habits, my fiancé and I are also trying to be conscious consumers.  We do our best to recycle, research products, and find eco-friendly merchandise.  I’ve switched to eco-friendly deodorants, shampoos, makeup, and toothpaste.  We are also trying to switch to eco-friendly cleaning products.  At the same time, we know it’s important not to waste and so we continue to use those products that we already own.  We have also made an effort to reduce the number of plastic bags we use by limiting how much we purchase, carrying products without a bag, or using reusable canvas bags.  As far as cars are concerned, we share my little Saturn and get 30-35 mpg. We try to carpool or walk to as many places as possible.  It’s difficult where work is concerned, but I believe that every little bit helps and that even baby steps are a step in the right direction.

I said that I still have much to learn.  Some of my latest lessons in nature have come from the city.  My fiancé lives in the city of Utica and I spend a lot of time at his apartment.  These past few years have presented new lessons – lessons about the flora and fauna of the city. I’m now learning that people in the city aren’t as cut off from nature as I once believed.  In fact I think that urban Pagans who are able to find a connection in a city are probably more appreciative than those of us who live in the country.  The more time I spend in the city, the more I’ve come to appreciate the value of my parents’ forested backyard.  I’ve started to consciously look for examples of nature within the city so that I can maintain my connection.  I pay attention to what the trees are doing, I notice and praise the dandelions poking through the sidewalk, and I smile when I see a skunk ambling across the street at night.  Nature spirits are everywhere and one need only look.

My practical experiences are very spiritual.  When I first started to read about ancient Pagans, I remember reading about how they didn’t categorize activities as either spiritual or mundane – they were all spiritual in some way.  I feel myself entering that frame of mind.  When I am in my garden watering the seedlings, I am engaging in an age-old ritual and connecting to the spirits of the land.  When it rains, I thank the rain because it is helping everything to grow.  When it snows, I pray that the snow spirits will be kind to me.  I think that, while I’ve always had animistic tendencies, Druidry has helped me to develop them to the point where I really do feel that everything has some sort of soul or energy.  I feel intertwined with it all and it makes me even more aware of the delicate balance that exists on Earth.  My conscious efforts to be an eco-minded consumer are ways of affirming my connection and devotion to the Earth Mother and her children.

Of course I also feel happiness simply existing in nature.  I love to go for walks in the forest behind my home.  I have a little shrine set up by a tree – a boundary marker, really.  I feel that it is the true entrance into the forest.  I make offerings there from time to time and visit often to feel the presence of the unseen world around me.  I love to meditate outside, to feel the wind through my hair, to make offerings to the fairies. I feel more alive in the forests, mountains, and lakes. In many ways, the Nature Spirits are my first love and it only makes sense for me to dedicate my life to them as a priestess.  However, without the acts of conscious eating and consuming, the offerings and nature walks would be little more than empty gestures.  ADF has helped me to see that my life’s work is, above all else, to honor, worship, and serve the spirits of Earth.

 

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Last night I got into a somewhat heated discussion on otherkin, vegetarianism, and animal rights on the ADF IRC chat.   A couple of members who believe they are otherkin brought up a publication and I asked them a couple things about being otherkin which kind of started it all.  You see, when I first heard of otherkin several years ago, I thought to myself, “huh.  That’s interesting.  I wonder if that’s why I’m so drawn to cats?”  I never really thought much more about it though.  Last night’s discussion kind of forced me to think about otherkin again and articulate my thoughts about my own relationship with the animal kingdom.

Animal rights and vegetarianism can be very divisive issues as last night proved.  There are scientific sides to the arguments, but when push comes to shove, a lot of what a person believes is based on UPG and their own concept of animism.  And that is fine.  I know I can’t push someone to see the world as I do anymore than they can push me.  Some of you who know me better understand that I think animals and humans are no better or worse than the other.  We are equal.  I believe that we have different talents and purposes, but that we aren’t somehow better.  As I thought about it last night, I realized that the Druidic concept of “a gift for a gift” is very much a part of my understanding of the natural world.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I understand that animals can be cruel to each other.  Cats torture small prey and monkeys wage wars on each other.  Etc etc etc.  What we call “human nature” may very well be “animal nature.”  I think humans are capable of forming symbiotic relationships with animals and here is where the trouble begins.  I have no problems with people who raise animals on farms or who hunt.  Our ancestors seemed to understand the spiritual side of this as well.  I’m generalizing my studies, but there are plenty of people who thanked their kill or left offerings to guardians of the hunt or livestock.  Brighid, a guardian of domesticated animals, could be thanked for the milk.  She is a protector of dairy giving creatures – maybe even one of them in some forms. (That is my own UPG.)  I don’t find deity to be limited to the human form.  If anything, I get the impression that the Gods are real forces and we gave them avatars or they chose visages that we would feel more at ease around.
Back to reciprocity.  We give cats and dogs shelter and food and they keep our homes free of vermin, help us hunt, drive our sleds, entertain us, etc.  We both give each other love.  I feel that, today, while we may have that symbiotic, “gift for a gift” relationship with our pets, we’ve lost it with the greater wild kingdom.  Instead of giving our cattle a comfortable home in exchange for milk and meat, a majority of them live in horrible conditions and are beaten.  We rape our forests in the name of profit.  We plant a tree here and there but is that enough?  Perhaps the forests, especially the rain forests, have given us enough and our gift back needs to be rest and lots of it while we learn to better recycle what we already have.  (Desertification is a very real and growing problem right now.  Mama Earth will be fine but what about the many humans displaced?  What about the countless number of plants and animals killed in the process due to human greed?)

This brings me back to otherkin.  I’m not convinced that I am one.  There are days, it’s true, when I suffer from “green guilt,” but I am not about to forsake my humanity.  There is plenty about it that I love – especially the arts.  I do not know if nature spirits have their own art – they might! – but I am enamored with human art whether it is painting, sewing, dancing, or song.  And while there are horrible, greedy people out there, I find that a majority of humans are kind-hearted and well-intentioned (if ignorant – but aren’t we all that way in certain areas?).

I do not really think that I am a cat stuck in a human body.  I am more inclined to think that maybe I was a cat in a previous life (some would argue that makes me an otherkin) or that the cat is a symbol I am repeatedly drawn to, physically and spiritually – a symbol representing the lessons I need to learn in this life, my shadow, or, perhaps my animus (one of my spirit guides is a male lynx after all…)

I do not reject the animal in me anymore than I reject the human.  If anything, I am trying to find a balance between my human and natural side.  I can’t escape my humanity – doing so would mean leaving behind the people and activities I adore.  But I feel like it would be irresponsible of me to ignore my inner animal and, thus, my connection to all of nature.  My inner animal is my empathy with other creatures – the drive of my vegetarianism and my desire to do less harm to Mama Earth and my brothers and sisters in the natural world.  I want to be closer to them, to better understand my place in the cosmos – not as their master, but as their sibling.

I don’t have an idealized vision of Eden where I’m lounging with the lion as fearlessly as the lamb.  I know enough about the cruelty of nature having lived in such proximity to it for years.  I’m under no illusions and am aware of the chaos and the destruction necessary for the renewal.  Just as human siblings quarrel and don’t see eye to eye, we compete and become annoyed with our nature kin.  But we must learn to live with them and love them somehow because we are all connected.  At the moment, I think our relationship is imbalanced and consisting of more “take” than “give.”

Perhaps my connection with the cat (and now my growing connection with the fox) is more shamanic than anything else.  I am inspired by them and seek spiritual union.  There are lessons for me in these forms.  The carnivorous cat has taught me to respect and value the hunter – no small feat for a vegetarian!  What else can they teach me?  And in the meantime, what can I do for them to return the favor?

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The terrible fatigue I’ve been feeling lately has spread to my spirituality. My rituals are suddenly shorter and lack any real meditation. I’ve tried to meditate in bed but I always fall asleep and have strange dreams that I can’t really remember in the morning.

I keep thinking about and seeing foxes everywhere. My inner teacher is calling out to me. I really should get down to business later. And I need to do it in my ritual room. I’m too programed to sleep when in bed. Meditation doesn’t come easy there.

I’m attempting to be more physically active in the hopes that it will improve my health and my energy. I started doing some aerobics yesterday. Perhaps I’ll do some yoga today – something not too jarring but also strenuous. I do love stretching…

Speaking of exercise, I’ve looked for belly dance instructors in and around Watertown. It seems that the closest are across the border or in Syracuse. With one car between myself and my husband, neither is really feasible at the moment. In the meantime, I’m hopeful that the local BOCES will get one down the road.

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Teacher Fox

 

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve been working through Paxson’s Trance-Portation. I mentioned a few entries ago that I’ve been revisiting animal spirits / spirit guides. Paxson suggests asking a companion animal to lead you to a spirit who can teach you to better navigate the inner realms.

Last night, while the husband was at work, I took advantage of my free/quiet time and prepared to trance. I took a cleansing shower to help me release the stress and tensions of the day. While there I felt compelled to chant which felt great. Chanting really gets me in the mood for spiritual activity.

I then sat at my altar, honored the kindreds and lit a stick of incense to honor my spirit guides in particular.

Going into trances is coming easier and easier to me given the right mental cues. It used to be a real effort for me to guide myself into anything. Now it’s almost second nature to call on the Two Powers and enter my inner nemeton. I’m finding that my inner realm has a definite landscape that I can navigate. I’ve really not ventured far. Beyond my nemeton is a field and, in the distance, more forest. In the middle of the field is a big rock that I’ve visited plenty of times in Katrina’s rock meditations. An Dagda likes to frequent it.

Before leaving my nemeton, I called to my long-time spirit guide, the lynx. I’ve been trying to work with him more and feel like I have a better relationship with him. I asked if he could lead me to a being who could teach me more about trancing and navigating. We walked through the field and a few animals passed by, including a deer. They weren’t interested in stopping. Finally a fox walked in our path, stopped, and waited for us. I asked her if she was willing to teach me and she said yes. At this point I felt a pull from my physical body – my throat was irritated and I knew I was going to cough but I held back. The vixen laughed at me, called me a foolish human, and basically said that if I need to cough I should just get it over with. She then said that I needed to finish healing before I come back to her and sent me off.

It was an interesting experience, that’s for sure. And then today I kept seeing red foxes *everywhere*.

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“Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse are the heirs of Br’er Rabbit and Anansi. We give our children toy ducks to protect them in the bath, and Teddy Bears to ward their sleep. When small, my grandchildren were guarded by a tattered toy in the shape of a bear that belonged to their great-grandmother when she was a girl.

“I have vivid memories of an afternoon in the Cornish town of Padstow, when a friend and I watched the procession of the Padstow “Hobby Horse.” This is a stylized horse-shaped construction that has been carried through the streets to bless the town every May 1 for centuries. We listened to a young man from the procession explain very seriously to his young son why the “‘Oss” was more powerful than Spiderman. We have been conditioned to believe in and trust our animal helpers since we were very small.

“In animals, we see the wisdom that comes from an unbroken connection with nature and the innocence of beings uncorrupted by the human world. We relate to them in a visceral and preverbal way that bypasses conscious inhibitions. By developing your connections with the animal powers, you expand your capacities without losing the advantages of living in the human world…”

Page 99 of Trance-Portation.

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