5/20/08

A candidate for the World Tree.


Moon: Full Flower, Scorpio
Weather: Fair skies, unseasonably cold, risk of frost
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I believe that this image could be a fine prospect for a modern rendition of the World Tree, upon which hung Odin for nine days and nine nights as a sacrifice by himself to himself.

Look up "Tree of Art" and you'll find images of the carvings that cover this tree. It is, to say the least, amazing.

5/16/08

Dreamwalking

Moon: Gibbous Blossom Moon (2 days from full); Sign of Cancer
Weather: Cool, cloudy, and intermittent rain, under a low pressure system, with the remnants of that cool front that passed thru last night still around.
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Dreamwalking, you may have heard the term before. If I've spoken to you personally about some of the 'witchy' stuff that I do, it may have even come up in conversation. I figured I'd just put out there what exactly this activity is.

When I say that I've been dreamwalking, I'm referring to one of two things:
  1. Astral projection while sleeping.
  2. Astral projection into the dreams of another person.
I have recognized over the years that the mind has considerable power in this state because it is fruit borne entirely of the mental flexibility of the practitioner. It is possible to present yourself in any number of ways when you are dreamwalking and even to impersonate others. Your mannerisims, however, usually give you away unless you make a close study of the person whom you are going to impersonate.

In last night's dreamwalking experience, I found myself encountering a friend of mine. He was rather surprised by how I had chosen to present myself. When I dreamwalk, I don't initially begin the experience dressed in robes, jeans, or anything else. Initially, I appear nude because I do not identify myself very strongly with individual garments that I own. Some people, when the engage in astral projection will envision themselves dressed in clothing. I think that's due to some sense of discomfort when they are nude and possibly a touch of self deception to hide from bodily 'flaws' that they feel they have.

I don't engage in that because I don't even stop to consider something like that. Instead, I just focus on being present. As a result, my mental efforts are not going to grant me clothing when I intially enter into the appropriate state for astral projection. (If you're wondering, yes, there is a *lot* of visualization applied in these practices.) As I recognize that when I engage in astral projection, it is possible for others to see me on that plane/level/realm/(what term are we using today?), I will either decide to envision myself clothed in what I am wearing at the time or do something different.

Most frequently, I will simply grasp some of the shadows that are about me when I engage in this and draw them about me to form my clothing. At other times, I will grasp and draw about me mist or something else, even something such as light that I see with my mind's eye there around me. This startled my friend because I don't believe it was something he'd encountered. I suspect that not many folks stop to think about the implications that your mind can affect the area about you when you engage in astral projection. The greater force of will you apply, the more of the area you can affect.

A fine example of this can be seen in some of the final scenes of that movie which was so popular several years ago. I believe it was called The Cell. It is possible, also to affect others in their dreams. The scene where the psychologist confronts the serial killer after bringing him into her mind is a fairly good visualization of a conflict between two people over a setting and other elements that come with dreamwalking.

Can you kill another person via dreamwalking? No, I don't believe so. If it were possible, then there would be a man that would be dead several times over for the times that he's walked into my dreams and attempted to assault me. I do think, however, it is possible to come away feeling poorly from the experience. It is a question of how much weight you give to it and that you allow it on you in your waking life.

You can choose how the situation unfolds, even kick another person out of the dream that has walked in. It is all a question of how you direct your will.

And, as Herr Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. It takes a great deal of patience and self-knowledge to determine what traits are markers of dreams where you've actually been dreamwalking or interacted with some one who has walked into your dream. It does, in my opinion, however, indicate the prospect of one having the capacity for telepathy. That is a different topic for a different post, though.

5/7/08

Beltain Fires

Moon: Waxing Blossom Moon, Gemini
Weather: Clear skies, mild. Some cloud cover expected later as a cool front begins to enter the area this evening. Possibly unseasonably warm today, meteorologists hesitantly said it may get up to 80 degrees F.

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At Beltain, a fire was often built by the ancient Celts to ward off illness. This fire was known as a need-fire by mythologists. One of the fire-festivals, Beltain not only had need-fires lit as part of the observances of the day but fires that were also dedicated to a solar deity. Or at least, this is the popular theory for why the bonfires were lit on this day by the ancient Celts. Wicca generally celebrates this holiday as a combination of the German witches' Walspurgis Night and the Celtic Beltain, usually on the first of May.

The focus upon fertility and certian popular ritual elements, such as Dancing the Maypole, come from the Germanic origins. The lighting of fires and reconing this as the beginning of Summer is derived from the Celtic cultures. Generally, Beltain is viewed as a celebration of the earthy pleasures of life, ranging from sexuality to food. It is considered by many traditions to be the day to celebrate the union of the God and Goddess of Wicca, as well. All of this, however, is not the focus of my post here today. It, rather, serves as context for the real content of my post and I am now going to move away from this to a somewhat odd direction, but you'll see how I tie all this together.

Last Sunday, I was going to go to a ritual to celebrate Beltain with some very dear friends of mine. That ritual, however, did not happen as planned. For, you see, the night before their home caught fire and burnt down. They were lucy to escape with their lives, but they lost everything. Sadly, they were unable to rescue their beloved pets (two cats and a quite aged rat). It was odd a few days before the master of the house had said that bringing my infant son to the ritual would not be a problem because there was "not going to be any huge bonfires to worry about." I thought that was rather odd phrasing at the time, but now I look back on it and question if there was something of a premonition there.

To say the least, they are devestated and feeling a mixture of things ranging from relief that they are alive to guilt and self recrimination. My friends, even as they are struggling to plan how they will move forward, are struggling to understand why this tragic accident befell them. Right now, they see only loss. I really can't say a word to begin to even approach that issue, though I see something odd about this entire situation.

Sometimes, we have events happen in our lives that are major points of change in our lives that are seemingly destined to happen. We may have flashes of intuition of them before they occur and we may heed those warnings, or we may put them aside as just strange accidents. Over the last several years, perhaps longer I am not sure, there has been some kind of odd incident involving fire surrounding Beltain for these people and the coven that they are a part of. One year, the oven functionally blows up that day (which is very strange considering that was an electric oven) and then another year, all of the candles burn unusually fast and hot. Yet another year, people were some how burned by the candles for the ritual and prior to the ritual there was something of a rash of minor burns to people who were cooking food to have at the post ritual dinner. As I look back over the last several years that I've known this coven, I see that each Beltain, something went strange with fire.

I think that perhaps they could have been warnings of this year's fire, or indications of something different. I'm not sure. I am inclined to say, however, that they were precursors to this year's fire and a bit of preparation for the message that was supposed to come out of it. As the person who was not part of the situation, I recognize that my statements here sound terribly callous. It, however, is not my intent to offend. I apologize if I have or manage to do so as I proceed.

Now, I look at all of this and I have to say that the fire this year which burned down the home of my dear friends is a continuation of the pattern established from prior years. (I think I can include the top popping off of an oxygen bottle as people were smoking at the dinner after last year's ritual as part of the list of Beltain fire incidents, by the way.) I don't know for certain if they are part of a series of warnings, but I think they placed the ground work for a very large, life changing event, as happened here. I also think that this life changing event is one that was going to happen no matter what actions occured the day before the fire or years before it. I suspect that this is the hand of the gods at work here or destiny, which ever you prefer.

It may sound strange to say that. It most definately is not what one expects to come from the gods whom are supposed to be benevolently inclined towards their worshippers. Heck, it's a very bizzare event to occur just about a week after I had given the mistress of the house a birthday gift that included a home blessing for prosperity and protection as part of a belated birthday gift. As I look back on this situation, I think my intuition prompted me to make that home blessing and protection charm as this fire was coming because I felt that it was needed. Heck, the fire orginated in the kitchen and my intuition told me to make something that would go in the kitchen.

I see in this situation, however, that they are going to rise up like a pheonix. Pheonixes are rather special to me. I identify quite strongly with them. They are a powerful symbol of rebirth and continuance. They also signify great triumph over adversity. I see this here singifying their strength and a renewal. In this fire, I feel something very large at work in their lives to force them to recognize just how powerful they are. I don't know what else is at play here, but this fire is no ordinary fire. It is a continuation of the fire magic that was done on Imbolc, and I suspect that there will be additional echoes of that fire magic of change and renewal is going to manifest until Samhain.

My intuition tells me that they're being given something far larger then everything they lost, though they can't see it yet or feel it's presence yet in their lives. Once the shock has worn away and they have completed the grieving process, I think they will see it. Their old life was cleared away for a purpose. Such a dramatic severing ensures that they can not return to the past, despite how ever tempting it may be. It would have come even if the fire hadn't happened. It may have come via a car accident or something else of a crisis. And my intuition tells me that it would have come at Beltain anyways. This is the largest of the fire festivals and it is the time where the vast majority of fire magic is performed. This also, I know, is when the Gentry begins to set to work on things as well.

And I know that my friends are going to feel that presence quite strongly as well, for the Good Folk are highly inclined towards them. Help is going to come to them from strange places, but I know it will be appreciated, even as it brings confusion. I just wish I knew what I could do to help them. This is not the end but rather the end of a beginning, despite all of that loss and destruction that surrounds them.