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Archive for the ‘healing’ Category

This is the first of a series of what I hope to be weekly posts about a subject I’ve become passionate about – filling my life with magic.   To the uninitiated*, living a “magical life” must sound fruity and idealistic at best, and delusional at worst.  To many Pagans, magic is very real.  What people outside of the proverbial magic circle struggle to understand most is that a lot of magic is just a different way of seeing and interacting with the world.  Magic means intentionally focusing on the intent of an action.  Magic is very much living a purposeful life.  Although some of what I talk about may seem to some as an impractical waste of time, to me my little rituals and magical acts are how I maintain a spiritual connection to the world outside of ritual and meditation.  Some of what I write about will be influenced by Druidism, folk-magic, and kitchen/green witchcraft.  A few will incorporate other cultural/religious practices.

I’m going to begin by talking about the object pictured at right**.  It’s called a neti pot and I’ve been using one for the past two months.  My father gave it to me after I told him I was suffering from possible allergies and wanted to obtain one.  It has been one of the best and most practical gifts ever.  This may sound gross to those of you who have never tried a neti pot before, but you combine water and salt to make a solution.  You then pour the liquid through one nostril at a time while you lean over a sink and breath through your mouth.  The solution flushes the irritants from your nasal passage and is very effective at reducing the symptoms of allergies and colds.  From what I understand, it is a Yogic practice but many Muslims also us a form of nasal irrigation.

“Ok Grey,” you say.  “Yoga aside, what does flushing snot out of your nose have to do with magic?”

Everything!  First of all, healing is one of the most basic ways of practicing magic.  By taking your health into your own hands and using a natural method to fight allergies instead of using expensive drugs, you are moving into what I would argue is a closer relationship to the Earth Mother.  That’s pretty Druidic!***

How else is using a neti pot magical?  When I prepare my solution, I go about it in a semi-meditative/ritualistic way.  I fill the pot with warm water and think on the fact that this is the combination of fire and water.  I add the salt which represents the earth – land.  Fire/sun/sky, well/sea, and sacred tree/Earth are present in this simple healing ritual.  They mix in the neti pot (cauldron of transformation).  As I stir the ingredients together, I perform the Two Powers meditation and direct the energies of above and below into the “potion.”  I say, “By fire, well, and sacred tree / let this salt water heal me!” before using the neti pot.  Trust me, approaching any form of traditional healing according to your spiritual practice is really empowering****.

Finally, using a neti pot is a great way to prepare yourself for another ritual or magical act.  Many cultures or people talk of purifying baths to prepare for ritual.  If you are the sort who likes to mentally and/or physically prepare yourself for a rite, but you either can’t or don’t want to bathe, a neti pot is a great practice before ritual that can be combined with washing your hands and brushing your teeth.  Even if you believe that our bodies don’t need any such preparation to enter sacred space, using a neti pot has a great practical use before ritual – it helps to alleviate sinus discomfort so long as you are gentle and make sure to blow your nose after using it.  As someone who often sniffles, this is a great practice for helping to remove a distraction to myself or others during magical workings.

*And by that I mean the non-Pagan people in the world…
**I wish I took that photo!  I found it on this blog.  
*** For all the whiners and nitpickers out there, I am not against modern medicine.  If someone has a real debilitating issue going on, by all means take what the doctor prescribes you!  I just think our society is a little too pill-popping-happy.  There are more natural ways to fight common allergies.  Even my doctors agreed with me about that.  
****Yes I realize this is a type of cultural appropriation.  I’m giving credit where credit is due and learning more about it all the time – so there.


( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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As some of you know, I have two Facebook accounts.  Let me just say that the reasons are related to religion and privacy*.  One is dedicated to my Pagan focus and Pagan-accepting friends, and the other is for everyone else!  I received a friend request on my “real” account this evening from someone I went to high school with.  The name was familiar but she was not someone I associated much with and so her face had faded from my immediate recollection.  I looked at her photos and recognized the face but it was different looking – thinner and coifed by a bandanna or scarf.  All her photos were.  I looked at her info – links, wall posts – and confirmed that someone I graduated with has cancer.  I don’t know where she is in her treatments at the moment…  but she is the first I know of from my graduating class.  It’s sobering to say the least.  Things like this truly put life into sharp perspective.

* I should blog about this sometime…

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Isaac Bonewits

Most Pagans probably know this already, but in case you don’t, Isaac Bonewits, founder of ADF and Pagan elder, is not doing well.  As Skip Ellison, former Arch Druid of ADF, announced today:

As many of you know, our founder, Isaac Bonewits, is suffering from cancer.
While it appeared at first that he was getting better, it now looks like
things have taken a turn for the worst.

This is from Isaac's Facebook page this morning.

" A very stressful day for both of us. Isaac's very weak from last week's
chemo, so he is back in the hospital for a few days. A very frank talk with
his oncologist was not encouraging. In short, the best they can do is
control his disease. He will not get well. If he cannot tolerate chemo at
levels that control the tumors, there is nothing else they can do."

" "Of course," she (the doctor) said, "miracles do happen." So, family,
friends and fans, we need a miracle. If there was ever a time to kick the
magic into gear, this is it."

Please keep Isaac in your thoughts and prayers as he and Phaedra both go
through this hard time.

Updated information can always be found on his Facebook page located here -
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/isaac.phaedra.bonewits?ref=ts

Bright Blessings,
Skip

I'm planning to light a candle and say a prayer at the very least.

[ For my LJ friends, please visit me at: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ ]

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As I said in my last entry, my husband and I saw “How to Train Your Dragon” this afternoon.  After that we went to the Watertown Great Outdoor Expo.*  The entrance fee was only $3 per person so I figured it would be a fun thing to check out.  It’s true that my husband and I are both vegetarians and not hunters, but we have an interest in other outdoor activities.  My husband has also become quite interested in (and good at) target practice after going a few times with other family members and friends.

There were a lot of interesting things to see: animal calls (an old interest of mine), baby ducks, a giant, hand-carved chess set, rock climbing demonstrations, some small animals from the local zoo, and even a scuba pool!  My husband took scuba classes several years ago in Syracuse but was never certified.  It’s something we’d both like to do one day.  I tried to convince him to try the scuba gear with me but he didn’t feel like it and I didn’t want to do it alone.  I got some information, though.  I would love to take a class.  The North Country is a good place for scuba diving so we should take advantage of that sometime!  I also got information about white water rafting, another activity to try on the local Black River.  Any of my friends want to try it out?

There was also a chiropractic table set up and I was asked if I wanted a free screening.  I basically said, “oh what the heck, why not?” and the lady said I had some problems, including swelling in my lower back.  I do get a lot of aches there.  They were offering a low price for further consultations, but I decided that I want to go in to the local doctor for a full check-up first and see what he or she says.  It is discouraging to think I have some back problems that could become more serious as I age…  When I went to the reiki workshop last week, a lot of people who practiced on me said they felt a weird energy around my lower abdomen but I don’t recall anything specific about my back.  Hmmm…  I’ll have to see what another doctor says and then I’ll consider a regime of chiropractic consultations, massage, and reiki.

In other news, a new blog I’ve been following, Flame in Bloom, has a great post about ancestor veneration among heathens and what that means when you have little respect for recent ancestors.  It’s a perspective I’ve not thought much about.  Ancestors are just as important in Druidism and Celtic Reconstructionism, and I’ve been blessed with a family I feel close to despite their idiosyncrasies.  Those who have passed are still cherished for the lessons learned and the positive impact they had on me.  Michelle Daw, an ADF member and practicing stoic, kind of touched on this is his recent video chat on stoicism.  I remember him discussing family members who were not very kind or responsible.  They taught him how not to behave.  The lessons may have been painful, but they were important and he thanks them for that.  Anyone having difficulty forming a relationship with their ancestors should definitely check out Flame in Bloom’s most recent post** and/or start a conversation with Daw.  He’s very approachable and willing to help.

That’s all I have for today!  Again, I’m working on some book reviews which I should post soon.  Remember Earth Hour tonight!  Turn your lights off from 8:30 to 9:30!

*For my lj friends: http://www.greatoutdoorexpo.com/

** For my lj friends: http://flameinbloom.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/on-ancestors-and-our-bodies/

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Happy spring!

Yesterday was the Vernal Equinox and I went down to Utica for a reiki workshop led by friend and reiki master Imagickat.  This was her first class on reiki and the first time she’s given attunements.  I must admit, before the class I knew very little about reiki.  She’s given me reiki treatments before and they always really helped.  They make me feel at peace, like massage but in a different way.  This will sound strange, but I love to be touched.  Not in a sexual way – but spiritually.  It’s warming and comforting.  
Back to what I was saying.  I’ve been largely ignorant about reiki.  It’s something I knew existed and, like I said, even experienced from time to time.  For whatever reason I never bothered to read about it.  This is mostly because I have so many other interests that it never dawned on me.  I always (wrongly) assumed it was derived from Shinto  practices in Japan.  I didn’t think it would be appropriate for me to dapple with.  However, I learned that it’s adaptable to any spiritual practice and that it was even brought to America (by the Japanese) and changed so as to be better understood by Westerners.  It’s also incredibly modern, the practice only having been founded in 1922 by Mikao Usui.  
Learning this put me at ease.  Originally, I felt inclined to attend the workshop because I wanted to learn more about using and sensing energy.  I wasn’t sure if I would actually want to go further than learn, but in the end I’m glad I did.  The attunement wasn’t orgasmic, but I definitely felt something.  I’m much better able to sense energy within myself at the moment, but practicing yesterday enabled me to better sense it in others.  I was practiced on so much yesterday that my sinuses cleared for a whole day.  I later practiced on willing family members who said they felt at peace, that headaches vanished, and that they felt something sucked out.  I sensed a weird energy in my mum’s knees and she said they’ve been bothering her recently.  It’s all very interesting.  
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the ritual at Muin Mound in Syracuse.  I was feeling ill yesterday morning and felt that I shouldn’t go after an already busy afternoon (especially considering the necessary and long drive home afterwards).  I missed it but it was wonderful to see my old Pagan friends in Utica.  I’m hoping to do a Druidic ritual with my husband later.
I hope everyone has a blessed celebration of spring!  Just ignore the snow we had this morning.  😉

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