Beltane Blessings

Beltane Blessings

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Beltane is a major Pagan festival called a Sabbat. It is the union of the God and Goddess. The word Beltane means ‘Bright Fire’. It is named after the God Bel and ancient Celtic God. It is a fire festival and it is traditional to build a fire on Beltane night to honor the Sun Gods.

Beltane is also a fertility festival, as it is the height of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Earth’s energy is very strong and potent with new life. Beltane is also the start of the farming calendar.

Fire is believed to have purifying qualities, it cleansed and rejuvenated both the land and the people. The ritual welcoming of the sun and the lighting of the fires was also believed to ensure fertility of the land and the people. Animals were transferred from winter pens to summer pastures, and were driven between the Beltane fires to cleanse them of evil spirits and to bring fertility and a good milk yield.

In Celtic times, it would be traditional to build a big bonfire in the center of the village and have a big feast. Young men and women would dance around the maypole, while many people would marry in a handfasting (wedding). People wishing to find love or conceive would jump over a Belfire for luck in love and fertility.

On Beltane we celebrate the abundance of the earth, it is a happy time when we give thanks for all we have in our lives and look forward to the bright, sunny days ahead. We celebrate the coming together of the God and the Goddess and the gifts they will bestow upon the earth.

May you have a happy and joyous Beltane.

Full written & photo credit goes to Wicca Teachings. I merely edited this. 

Winter Solstice Blessings

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Today is Yule, commonly referred to as the Winter Solstice, which is the longest night of the year. After this night the nights will start to get shorter and days longer. It is the rebirth of the Sun.
Every 6 months there is a Solstice. On the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, the Waning Sun takes control of the skies and the days get shorter and nights get longer, the cold starts to set in and vegetation begins to die. On the Winter Solstice the Waxing Sun takes over and the nights start to get shorter and the days longer, it is a sign that Spring is only a few months away, where life will begin anew and the earth will start to blossom and bloom.

On Yule we celebrate the return of the Waxing Sun. In Wicca it is the birth of the Sun God who has many names; Cernunnos, The Oak King, Apollo, Sol, Freyr, Horus, Mithras, and more. The Goddess gives birth to him on this night, she sacrifices herself to give life to the Lord Of Light to ensure the earths’ survival.

In ancient tradition, Yule was celebrated with a large fire where townsfolk and villagers would dedicate it to the Sun God. They would fill their home with evergreens and an evergreen tree to show that even though the land is barren and dead, life is still flourishing, They would decorate the tree and their home with shiny objects to encourage The Sun God to shine.

We use Holly and Mistletoe on Yule as symbols of the fertility of the God and Goddess as they grow in the Winter. The red berries of the Holly represent the blood of the Goddess and the white berries of Mistletoe represent the God to ensure a healthy Spring and harvest to come.

The Winter Solstice has been celebrated by many ancient cultures, one of the most famous being Saturnalia and more modernly, Christmas.

Yule is a celebration of light, and of the Sun and its life-giving properties upon the earth. It is a time to rejoice and to be thankful for all we have and to gather strength for the new year. It is a time to contemplate on the year that has gone and look to the future.

Tonight, build a fire of Oak in honor of the Sun God and speak your wishes into its flames for the coming new year. Eat drink and be merry.

Yule Blessings to all. 🙂

100% written credit goes to Wicca Teachings. 

Mars Sun Earth Alignment

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Today marks a special event, the alignment of the Sun with Mars and Earth. Although all three planets line up with each other just over every 2 years, energetically speaking, today (April 8th) to the 14th, marks a time of shedding conflict, the sense of being separate from God (and others) and beliefs regarding victim-hood, blame, threat and feeling like your life is being controlled by anyone other than your Self. If you have been holding on to old stories of the past, especially concerning the ‘struggle’ it has been to get you to where you are now, honor yourself and the space you may hold for newly awakened souls around you, and let them go. Ascension may not be an ‘easy’ path to walk, but when we hold on to every challenge we have faced to bring us to this now reality, we are holding on to illusion and creating this template for others. 

Looking at the 3 planets:

Mars has long been associated as the planet of war after having been the battle ground for many conflicts throughout the cosmic ages. Yet, if shed this belief, we allow ourselves to feel in to its gifts of inspired action, strength, and the freedom to realize that we are the Creators of our own reality.

Earth is our home. She helps us to fulfill our Dharma and plays host to the most expansive spiritual growth unlike any other planet in our solar system. Earth holds the basic keys for ascension; the lessons that help us to Master the body, mind and spirit at and individual and collective level.

The Sun symbolizes the idea of ‘God’ created by human beliefs. Many still hold the sun in fear for what it may do to mankind. And even in the awakened community, many speak of solar flares and the chaos they bring. Perhaps another subconscious belief that we need to ‘protect’ ourselves from God, or more to the point, hide from the truth that we are God incarnate – an embodied Divine essence walking the physical plane. Yet the Sun is the giving force of life. It holds within it the keys for creating, sustaining, and transforming life – all the keys we hold within if we are ready to embrace ourselves as the Master that our soul recognizes.

I asked the Elohim for an affirmation to share with you if you feel ready to shed and be done with old stories to embrace yourself as the Creator of your reality, as these 3 planets are supporting today.

If you can, sit outside and first connect with the earth below you, the sun above, and take the energy of Mars in to your Heart. Feeling aligned to all three beings, repeat with your intention:

¸¸.•*¨*•*´¨)
¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ “I release all threat, fight and doubt that I am anything else, but God. I embrace who I AM. I embrace my Divinity and walk the path of my Soul. And so it is.”

*Written Credit in full goes to Calista- Ascension Writer & Teacher*

Vitamin D & Bipolar Disorder

Vitamin D & Bipolar Disorder

http://bphope.com/bphopeblog/post/Vitamin-D-and-Bipolar.aspx

As many of you know, I am 100% anti-sun. Not only do I hate it with every fiber of my being, but it’s just too damn bright for someone with extreme photosensitivity. Every single day one of the first things that goes on my face and neck is Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 40. During the summer when the sun is even more intense and I will be outdoors for more than an hour, I use the first product over this one: BareMinerals Advanced Protection SPF 20 Moisturizer, just to be on the safe side. I use an SPF 50 spray sunscreen on all other skin that will be exposed and I put sunscreen in my hair as well, which protects the color and also protects the delicate skin we often forget about. I can’t forget, because I’ve had two horrible sunburns on my scalp in the past, which were extremely painful and lengthy in terms of the healing process. I protect my eyes with dark sunglasses that have UVA/UVB protection in the lenses.

I eat a balanced diet. I know I get vitamin D from the foods I eat, but I also know I am Vitamin D deficient despite all the precautionary measures I’ve taken for years and years. I take Citracal Petites a few times a week, or daily when I can remember. As women, we stop building bone after age 35, so the calcium is crucial to our future health. After age 36 we can continue to build muscle to protect our bones, but I know far too many people who ended up with osteoporosis really young, so I’m not willing to take the risk. As for the Vitamin D, I’ll stick with supplementing it, as opposed to destroying my skin.

Anyone else experience Vitamin D deficiency?

Middle of The Week Rantings

Monday Mornings Indeed… And The Rest Of The Week Isn’t Looking Much Better!

What the hell is it with Monday mornings, or the day in general? Lately Mondays profoundly suck for me, in more ways than I could ever say. By the time 7:00 a.m. hits I’m usually throwing up, sipping ginger ale, damn near hyper-ventilating, and ready to come out of my skin. These last two weeks it’s been really bad, and even though I know it’s supposed to be to some degree, I never expected this.

Sometimes, but especially when you’re grieving, there’s only so much your body and mind can take. You start blocking things out without even realizing it, but in an instant you can end up in tears. I feel broken. I know I’m not, I know I will push through the darkness and come out a better person, but right now I don’t even care about being that other person. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. We’ve all been there, I’m sure.

It’s taken me weeks and weeks to regulate my sleeping schedule, so I’m not going to bed as soon as the sun is up, and then spending the rest of my time writing as the stars and the moon take over where the sun leaves off. It’s all too easy to slip back into this mode of operation, especially when you’re upset, stressed, agitated, etc. I’ve never been great with happiness. I laugh a lot (as people always tell me, “You’re hilarious. You will say anything!”), I smile when I feel it, but the rest of the time I’m a pretty quiet person dealing with her own internal crap.

Over the last few weeks, other than the work on the first novel in the series I am writing, my only other major accomplishment has been with cleaning. Half of my loft space is almost cleaned out. I didn’t have a complete & total nervous breakdown when I found things my Mom had saved. I kept what was important to me, and I wasn’t afraid to throw shit out that no one will ever want, need, or use. A few hours a day and I’ve made a lot of leeway. At this rate, I see the second bedroom being half cleaned out by the time my “new arrivals” join the family.

One of the things I have discovered over the last few weeks is that not having a cat or cats makes me deathly ill. Did you know that owning a cat/cats lowers your blood pressure, boosts your immune system, and raises Serotonin levels? As soon as my little girl was gone, I got sick. I am actually somewhat allergic to cats, but now that there isn’t a cat with me 24/7, my body has damn near gone into shock. I am coughing, sneezing, my skin has reacted in some very unpretty ways (Not stress, I checked with a dermatologist.), and I’ve hit emotional lows that I haven’t had since just prior to the original adoption many, many moons ago. In my entire life, I have only lived without a cat for a short period of time, so when I have cats, I am healthier, but when I don’t, my body is like “What have you done to us?!”

So yes, I am adopting kittens. I said I would, I always knew I would, but this time I am preparing for them as though I am bringing home a newborn. After going over a zillion different things with a lot of the local (and some not-so-local) shelters I have decided to return to where it all began. I am going to take a few small trips first to give myself a bit of a break from my daily life, from routine, and because I’ve had a bad year or so. I am also going to make sure everything they could possibly need is already on-site, and then it will be about going and finding the right little babies. I am armed with a list of potential breeds, but in the end, it comes down to what I sense off of them. I am one of the most intuitive people you’ll ever meet, and I don’t fight that.

So, hopefully by the end of August/early September I will be feeling a LOT better once additional lives have been added into mine. As sick as I am, and as I’ve been, I am starting to think I AM a cat, but hey, I’m cool with coming back as one.

Facing The Pain

Tomorrow I am going to lose my cat. Realization has sunk in, and I’ve been crying for days.

Last week was a bad one for her. She was throwing up, she had physically distanced herself from me. She sought no comfort, she ignored me, and many times she looked at me with no recognition as to who I was or why I was touching her. It’s like she’d developed Alzheimer’s, and it made me sick to the point of headaches and tears.

This week was worse. She fell down the stairs Monday evening and sometime between yesterday and today, she seems to have had a stroke. I don’t know if she’ll make it through the night, and I can honestly say I don’t know what in the world I am going to do without her.

This little cat has been with me through some of the darkest days of my life, she has seen me through things I never thought I’d get through. She is one of the only living beings that has known me longer than anyone else that has come into my life since. Losing her will kill an immense chunk of who I am, and yet I know that after she is buried and the crying stops (if it ever does), I will adopt again. Because I may not be “a crazy cat lady”, but I do thrive on the love and attention both given and received from these magical creatures. I raised her, and she knows me better than people who were in my life long before she came along. What does that say about people when animals see more substance than they do?!

I remember the first day I met my soon-to-be kittens. They were to be a birthday gift. Surrounded by so many animals in cages, all needing a forever home, I went straight for the kittens. I had talked about nothing, but kittens at that point for three years. Initially, a few showed interest in me, but it was mild. One kitten went right for me with his claws, as if I might harm him in some way and he needed to defend himself. That or no one had bothered to clip his nails, who knows? My best friend at the time was with me and said “Look how sweet these two are.”, and he proceeded to show me my babies.

The first was the larger of the two kittens. Grey, white, cream, and smoke colored with big golden eyes, huge ears, and paws. She was part Egyptian Mau. I said hello and gave her my hand. She sniffed at me and gave me her paw, no claws, just her paw in my hand, gentleness, and her sweet little face. I was in love. Resting behind her was her litter-mate, a tiny Tortoiseshell who would become my complete and total mini-me. She had the darkest of the Tortie colors all over, a smattering of color here and there, what some people would probably refer to as “Dilute”, but she had this amazing tail with a great big orange stripe running through the middle and bits of cinnamon shading. She had pretty grey eyes. She was unimpressed, and scared. Her sister was bigger and was the protector. She wouldn’t let anyone touch “the baby”, as we were calling her in that moment.

I had to have them, those were my exact words.

A couple had been following me from cage to cage in a very eerie way. I heard them say, in another language, “Is she taking them? If not, we only want the pretty one.” The cage was marked DOUBLE ADOPTION, everyone who had inquired about “the pretty one” was informed that you had to take them both, you couldn’t just have one. Many had walked away. I called someone over to me and said “Can I see these two please?” The couple then asks “Are you taking them?” to which everyone with me immediately responds “YES!”

Two little kittens are brought to me inside the meeting room. The sweet one immediately turns into hell on four paws. She doesn’t want to be held, she doesn’t want to be kissed, no, she doesn’t want to play, she wants to RUN. She allows me to hold her for a few seconds, and then proceeds to jump off of me around the room. I sported so many scratches from this cat throughout her life that I’m lucky my hands and feet bear not a single scar (I do have a few scars from longer, deeper scratches when I was holding her and someone scared her. It’s possible I am the only one that can still see them, but they’re definitely a part of me, a part of my life with cats.). God Bless the inventors of Neosporin.

Her tiny companion is very quiet, shy, reserved, very scared. My Mom picks her up so she can look in her eyes and says “Ok little girl, what’s wrong with you?” All of a sudden this little spitfire of a kitten looks right down at her, sticks both of her front paws into my mother’s mouth, and gives her the perfect expression that says “I don’t know lady, what’s wrong with you?!” That spark of fiery personality let us know that she was shy & healthy, and we would soon learn she had the biggest mind of her own.

I’d made my choice, and the second they were moved into a “holding cage” (#26, the same day as my birthday) I KNEW there was no way they weren’t going home with me. I knew they were mine. It took several hours for the adoption to be approved (North Shore Animal League is no joke, they call ALL of your references to make sure they’re not handing an animal over to someone that shouldn’t have a pet. I was lucky they didn’t ask for a DNA sample.), but once the approval came through, I was given two kittens in a traveling box, a huge supply of the Iams diet they’d been eating since arriving at NSAL, and I was also given the opportunity to bring them back to have them spayed free of charge as part of the adoption fee (They were both spayed several months later at my local vet.).

Their first night home was a bit much. After several hours in the car, they were ready to be let free to run, to play, & go to the bathroom. I decided to keep them confined to one room in my apartment since they were so small and gradually let them into the other rooms as they got a little older. Being kittens, they jumped over the gate I put up countless times in their efforts to explore. They didn’t like to be confined in any way, they both thrived on freedom. Once they were no longer tiny and in danger of serious trouble, they had free reign of their home.

I’d spend countless hours throwing bouncy rubber balls against my closet door which they would then chase all over the room since the hard wood floors allowed them to really get into this game. As they got older they took to bringing the balls to me whenever they wanted to play. I’d wake up sometimes and there would be three balls in bed with me. Once they tired out, they’d settle into their cat beds or my bed and sleep for what seemed like very short periods of time back in those days. They weren’t big meal eaters, they both grazed, so I always left food and fresh water out for them.

After a few months I tossed their cat beds (The oldest had decided they were better litter boxes than cat beds! I’m not sure why she disliked it so much, but I think it was the simple fact that as she got older, she got more territorial Gone were the days of two kittens sleeping together and showing each other so much affection.) and they slept with me. One at my head, one at the foot of the bed. These positions didn’t change much from kitten-hood into adult hood, but they did switch places at times for territorial reasons.

They were both extremely unique in personality. The oldest kitten had to meet everyone and be social and loving, but my mini-me decided that she only loved me. By “loved me”, I mean she was downright obsessed with my comings and goings, followed me everywhere, and had to be with me no matter what. I’m pretty sure that when she decided I was going to be her person when she was about 5 months old that she had someone install some kind of kitty Lojack on me when I was sleeping and unaware. This should be helpful for future cats that may find they need a tracking device on their new Mommy.

In May of 2008 I lost my part Mau little girl when she threw a clot and died in my arms. My mother died two weeks later. It was an awful year, truly. Now here I am in the beginning of another year, a year that was supposed to be better, and I am losing another baby.

Tomorrow I will put my beloved little girl to sleep. I didn’t want to have to make this choice, but I cannot allow her to suffer for a single moment longer than necessary. This week has torn me apart.

I was asked this morning if I wanted one of the other vets to handle this (Believe it or not, I’ve never met any of the other three vets that work there.), and I said no, that I cannot do this without my vet. That might seem silly, it might even seem selfish, but this woman has cared for my macaroon since I moved here in 2009. She has been kind, attentive, loving, compassionate, caring, real, and it was her diagnosis that saved my cat in May of 2009. That diagnosis and the subsequent treatment have kept her alive ever since. Many times she would say to her “You love your Mommy very much, I can see that.”, and she’d always hold her and kiss her like she was one of her own. How can you not love a vet that good? Believe me, they are rare.

I once got into a massive fight with a vet. He was a moron, and my reaction was to put him in his place. I’m a little over 5.3 ½”, and this guy was a good 6.8″ or so. The more I talked, the further he backed away from me, until he was hitting the rear door. I can see he wants to argue with me, but he wasn’t going to win, not that day. The way he kept moving away from me was hilarious. It got to the point where my brother said “If you’re going to hit him, I’ll be outside.” I apologized to this guy’s boss the following day and he said “Don’t apologize, how else is he going to learn?!” Finding a good vet is definitely a priceless thing.

Last night I was reminded that I have given this cat a life so full of love. My brother said to me “I have never seen anyone be a better cat mother than you. You are nurturing, committed, devoted, she has never gone without love and the things she needs. You’ve gone above and beyond, she adores you, that little cat just plain worships you. Don’t ever think you haven’t done enough.”

Sometimes we need to hear things like this from the casual observer, especially when we don’t think that person is really paying attention to anything.

In closing, I know I will get through this. I will cry, I will hurt, I will mourn, and I will rise up out of the ashes once again like the phoenix that I am.

My little girl will be in the backyard in a spot the sun always gets. She has always loved laying in the sun and whenever she did, our eyes would be the exact same shade of green.

Keep me in your prayers tomorrow. I will need it.

UPDATE: My little girl passed away tonight as I slept by her side. At about 7:40 PM or so I told her to stop holding on for me, because she was suffering. I told her to follow the light, that my Mom and her sister would be waiting for her. I fell asleep holding her paw, and sometime between then and waking up at 11:00-11:30 PM to check on her, she had passed away. I’m devastated, but I will eventually be ok.

Long Night’s Moon

Full Disclosure: I am a Moon Child. That means different things to different people. For me, it’s not just a Wiccan reference and it has nothing to do with werewolves or vampires. (Yes, I just rolled my eyes.) Anyone can be a Moon Child, regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs. I’m not a full time Wiccan, so the reference isn’t entirely in regard to that aspect of my life.

It starts with being a full blown night owl. I have been a night owl since I was in the womb. To this day I am more alive and energetic under the moon and stars than any other time during the course of a day. I come alive right about the same time the moon rises (or as soon as it gets dark), and by the time the moon sets, I’m completely uninterested in the coming sun. I have little use for it.

I know so many people who adore the sun, who thrive in sunlight, who get depressed without it, who believe they never look good without a tan. I’ve never been one of those people. Give me an indigo sky with the moon and stars any day.

Many people have heard me say “I hate the sun. It’s evil.” I do feel that way, and some of it has to do with the fact that I am extremely photo-sensitive. That and I just plain hate the sun. I am often picked on for my extremely pale complexion. I’ve always been very fair, but have maintained said complexion out of a fierce need to stay out of the sun, unless I have sunscreen on, and even then I’m also wearing polarized sunglasses. I am the most rigorous user of sunscreen that I know.

I have a family history of various types of cancer, so I have religiously used sun protection my entire life. I’ve had my share of sunburns and don’t want to make things any worse, so SPF is non-negotiable for me. I usually walk out the door with, at the very least, SPF 20 on. Bare Minerals Advanced Protection SPF 20 Moisturizer is a natural product, so you don’t have to worry about parabens or any other iffy ingredients. It comes in a couple of different options based on your skin type. On days when the sun is more intense, and especially during the summer, I use a different product as my base. Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 40. This is also a natural product, infused with Argan Oil, and chemical free. It smells amazing and works like a charm. Both products can be worn under make-up or by themselves. (Yes, I’m a bit of a product junkie. Be glad I didn’t start discussing make-up!)

I’m not going to preach my personal views, because we are all entitled to live our lives as we please, so long as we aren’t harming anyone. We all know how important sun and skin protection is. What does this have to do with my love affair with the moon? I have no idea, somehow I got off topic. That happens when you’re naturally long-winded. (That’s a joke. Stay with me!)

My love of the moon extends also to stars. I have always loved astronomy. I could spend hours with a telescope just staring out into the sky. I can always tell you where specific planets are and I love to point out my two most important constellations during the year, both of which shine directly over my house at different times. I can just look up and say “That’s Pisces.” or “That’s Scorpio.” I’m extremely adept at locating planets as well, especially Mars and Venus.

My hope for this final full moon of 2012 is that you will look into the sky tonight, weather permitting of course, and find something you love about the moon and the stars. For the moon will forever balance out the sun. No matter what happens in life…the moon sees all.