Enchantments and Whispering Woods

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While viewing a large viking ship in Boothbay Harbor, my daughter found this shop:

Enchantments

We could not resist going in there, her, our friend Alec and I. This shop has multiple levels and you could spend hours upon hours in there and never see it all! We all absolutely loved this place and if you are in the Boothbay area here in Maine, you don’t want to miss out on this! It’s not far or hard to find either, just off the main street you can spot it with all the whirly-gigs and pinwheels out on the front lawn and the big red building! Can’t miss it!

While wandering about and perusing this place we picked up a few things and as I was standing at the counter as the most friendly sales/cashier guy was helping us, I noticed this small little box with the title: Whispering Woods, emblazoned upon it with these shiny dark green letters. I wasn’t sure what it was but it called to me.

Now as I have learned over the years, when something calls to me or I feel drawn to it, and that strongly, I will pick it up or purchase it if I can. There is a reason for it. Turning it over, I read:

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I was intrigued! How cute!
Whispering Woods, written, illustrated and designed by Jessica Le.

After I got home, I opened them up to discover this is one of those really cool magnetic lid boxes! I love those!

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Instructions are there on the inside of the lid and it just felt so nice! I love these already!

Flipping over a few cards, this is what they look like:

How lovely! These are great to tuck into your backpack or pocket even and take them on your journey into the woods or with you in your travels. Light-weight and compact and the lid snaps shut securely with the magnet too! They are very cute and unique.

For whenever you feel the need to bring the calm and serenity of the Whispering Woods to your soul, I would definitely use these cards!

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Just Because You Can

Doesn’t mean you should.

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This is one of those quotes that has stuck with me over the years and one I have used with my children as well. This one teaches that just because you have the power or ability to do or carry out something, doesn’t mean that you should do so. This comes into play in various ways in our lives. It helps to keep that moral compass and also to remember that sometimes, people need to do things for themselves, that you shouldn’t help them.

I know that sounds counterproductive or why not help someone in need? But it is much the same as helping a chick out of it’s shell or helping a turtle reach the sea. It is the struggle that makes them and you, stronger.

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Now that being said, of course I wouldn’t want to see someone really having such a hard time that it is impossible for them to do, but there are varying degrees of ‘help’ you can or should, offer.

We often have the power or means or knowledge to do something and yes, at times it helps to share that and do things for people but it also goes back to that saying if you give someone a fish, they eat for a day and yet if you teach them how to fish, they eat forever. Something like that.

It is very often that we learn through our struggles. The hardest lessons are the ones that are learned best.

Going back to an ex over and over and again, perhaps we were not hurt enough by that person to truly have learned. How many times do you go back for more until you realize that though that person may be a good person and you’ve seen the good in them, their potential, but maybe they are just not good for you? Maybe they are a better friend than an intimate lover and they are just not where they need to be yet for you to have them in your life like you’d like them to be.

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Most people learn by doing. If you always mow the lawn yourself and never show your kids how to do so, they will not know how to do that for themselves. I often wish my mother had taught me to sew using a sewing a machine. Sure, I took a class in high school but it wasn’t the same as my mother showing me. I wish I had learned how she made these beautiful crochet vases. I can remember a bit of the process but the whole pattern and everything, is lost now. Something that was not well documented or chronicled, is like in the medical field, if it is not written down, it didn’t happen. Or at the very least it is only a vague memory of childhood.

It is so important to pass down our life skills to the next generation. And if they are not interested at this point of their lives, then document it somewhere, somehow, so that when they do get older and they remember or even if someone else would like to learn, then they can look and read and even see progress pictures on how to do so. In our current world of technology, we have a vast amount of ways to do this.

Sometimes when you are given information in confidence, you can be faced with the dilemma of wanting to reveal it. Sometimes even feeling like you could solve issues between people by doing so. It’s a tough issue. For me, when told something in confidence, it remains there. You can’t go and tell the other person what was said even if it would clear up the issues. It is always best to remain out of it and allow the two people to come together and eventually talk. There is no guarantee that it would be solved even if you did share the knowledge. It is very hard when you are wanting to fix things and yet feel you can’t. So another example of knowing that you -can- but yet, shouldn’t. Your word and promises must stand as they are. It’s when they do not and you share information that was given to you with a trust, that trust is broken the moment you blab. The repercussions of that, is that none will ever trust you again to not go and tell or share the information you were entrusted with. People often need someone to go and talk to, knowing without a doubt, that they can share their most intimate details or hurts or feelings with someone and it won’t go anywhere. Sometimes those words, said in anger or upsetment, are just that, feelings and are not meant to be shared. They just needed a sounding board to bounce off of or to absorb and let go of.

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Of course there are more frivolous, surface ‘you can but shouldn’t’ type of examples. Buying beyond your means, eating beyond your stomach size, pushing yourself to do something you are not quite ready to do physically, etc.

And there are those that are very concerning as the topic of cloning people or animals, bringing back an extinct species like the Wooly Mammoth. There are repercussions to think of before our society should choose to do these things. What are the possible future ramifications of it?

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And the biggest question to ask yourself is: What is your goal?
Such a simple question and yet people fail to really think about the ‘why’ they are about to do something. What do you hope to achieve by doing A, B, or C? And that does matter a great deal as to your intentions. Sometimes you have to really delve deep, take time to contemplate if you are ready for it, or is the world ready for it? Is this really a good idea?

Yes, you can have the ability, ingenuity, knowledge, or power to do so, but is it really going to have positive outcomes for all concerned or for all those that you know will have an impact upon and even those you may not know that it might? Think beyond what you may have first thought or the immediate circle or shores that this ripple may wash upon.

There are many more examples that I am sure you can think of with this quote and how it may fit into your own unique situations. It crossed my mind this morning and I wanted to share it with you all.

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Love of the Land

I don’t know what it is…but for as long as I have known, I have had a love of Scotland. Before the shows like Outlander, the movies, before Rob Roy, Braveheart, even before Highlander, back to Scotty on Star Trek, before that. Before the many historical romance books I’ve read even. It goes beyond the romantic in me who loves all the medieval castles and rich history of the clans. And her people like Billy and Jan, Tracy, Adam, Ronnie, Laura and her children, Janet, Robert, Bob, and the many others who have each time I have visited, welcomed me and mine with open arms, open hearts and welcomed me into their homes and their lives and shared such glorious and wondrous times with me.

Perhaps it is the pipes when I hear them play like in this video and I see the landscape that is the Highlands of Scotland, something calls to me.

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I feel the loneliness and the ache deep in my heart and I feel my eyes fill with tears in feeling such a need to go there. I was lucky to be able to do so for the first time many years ago in 1997 I want to say it was. I’ve been back a few times now, each one making it exceedingly harder to leave. Maybe it is her fight for freedom over the many years, to fight and die for what they believe in, or just the rugged landscape that is filled with such raw beauty as if it is untouched despite the many movies in the past that have hurt the land. I don’t know what it is or why, I only know how much I love Scotland in her totality.

And it’s not to say I don’t love the United States of America, for I do as the land that I was born and raised in and have explored but a small fraction I am sure. I have been to every state but 5 and eventually, I will see them too. There are many treasures within her borders that I know I have not yet seen as America is so vast and wonderful, so filled with her own as yet untouched rugged wilderness tucked away here or there. Sometimes I think the praises of the US are just not said or shown enough as it seems the media is always focused on the negative, the violence and crimes and it makes others around the world think that’s what America is all about. It’s not. So many have skewed views of the US, it’s sad but until they come here and see, no, it’s not like that, that’s not the majority at all, it’s not how life really is all the time.

I thought I would have found the land that called to me in my home state of Pennsylvania. It is where I was born and brought up. My dad took us to so many places, camping all across the U.S. I’ve always had that wandering spirit, the travel bug as they say, bit hard a long time ago. But as I looked for a place in PA, I just couldn’t find the right one. I saw so much change there and so much land had been lost. What bothered me most were the sand mound septic systems that the realtors there insisted I would have to put in that not only costs a lot of money to do and you have to renew them every 20 years or so, but they destroyed the land. I couldn’t bare to do that. I knew I had to be in the northeast for that is where I call home and what fits me best, aside from Scotland of course. So when I took my daughter up to Maine for college, I was reminded of when my dad took us up to Maine as he had been thinking of moving us up here when I was a young girl. It always seemed like such a raw wilderness whenever we thought of Maine. The moment we stopped at the first rest stop just over the border into Maine, we took a deep breath while looking down in a valley of evergreens and we were simply amazed at the purity of the air. It was nothing like I had ever breathed before. We began to look and saw how much cheaper it is up in Maine and it did not take long to find the home and land that called to me as a Druid.

The moment I got out of the car on a brisk March day, I heard this whoosh–whoosh! I looked around to find what was making that noise. I quickly realized the wind was blowing, gusting through this one tree as he waved his branches at me and I could hear him saying, “Welcome! Welcome Druid!” I just smiled big and whispered back, “Why hello, thank you, yes, I am here, I am home.”

I didn’t need to see inside the house, it wouldn’t matter. We had driven so far out into the woods that I wondered if we had gone too far or this was too far out but the moment that tree, an Eastern Pine, whooshed a greeting to me, I knew we had not.

And then, we saw the view. It is spectacular. We purchased the property, 46 acres of mostly woods, backed to a stream with a 5 car garage and a nice sized home.

After moving in, I walked about and felt how small I am compared to the trees and land here. So small. I felt the weight of the guardian mantle that laid upon my shoulders, the steward of this land, this property. It is up to me to take care of it. Such a huge responsibility but one I take on gratefully and thankfully and most important, reverently. As I watch now deer in the field nibbling on the bared, warmed places around the tree trunks with the melting snow receding with the warmth of the sun and I hear the soft chuckling of the turkeys as they go strutting by, I can’t help but smile a peaceful smile and know that I am home.

 

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First Steps in OBOD

I know it’s been well overdue for another blog post and I hope to post more often now that things here have settled down quite a bit.

I had last left off with the start of having joined OBOD, the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I was very hesitant at first. Could I really learn with a correspondence course? The headquarters is all the way over there, across the Atlantic ocean, in the United Kingdom. How could I possibly feel a connection? Would it be like the old Druid order I was part of where I had to memorize things but not really learn or do things.
I could not have been more wrong.

At the start, I did a self-initiation when I felt the time was right. I had ordered both the paper and the cd version of the course as I felt I would learn better with both mediums and then to write as well would really sink it home. I set aside a proper time and place, every Sunday, early morning, to begin each lesson or gwers. It was a lovely time in the week, all was quiet in the house, the bright rays of the sun first starting to appear and streak through my windows. The cats would come up and lay on my bed and I would gather my journal, pen and booklet and push play on the cd.

I felt constrained at first there in my bedroom. Granted, my room was large but I knew I was in the middle of the bible belt and I had no idea how much I could do safely.

At the start, with the self-initiation, I was surprised with how much I had felt. How much I could feel the strands of connectivity weaving across the land and reaching out to those there in the UK, to OBOD. I could sense the Druid there to greet me, the guide, the friends I had not yet met but was meeting now through this. It was very moving and a great experience. With each gwers I did, I felt the connection deepen. A few times I would set aside the lesson as something would come up and I wouldn’t be able to have my time on that particular Sunday to work on my Bard course.

Now I was already a Bard from the prior order, but as each one is different, it is always good to start again. I enjoy starting over from the start and I was so glad I didn’t have a choice really anyway because there was no way I was ready for the Ovate grade at that time.

There is something very powerful with the gift of the word. Words can make you smile, laugh out loud, feel angry, upset or cry. They carry meaning and power and depth if you open yourself up to the author of them.

You can actually finish the Bard course in one year’s time. I took 18 months. Much of the work was very familiar to me and yet I began to drag it out during certain parts that I was enjoying a great deal. I didn’t want the course to end. I knew I would want to move on to Ovate and from there, to Druid eventually. But I was so enoying myself, I did not wish to move on too fast. So I took my time. I also wanted to be able to order the Ovate course in both cd and booklet form as I had the Bard course and the Ovate was not yet available on cd. Thankfully, it did not take long before it was and I ordered it after I had completed the Bard course.

While in the midst of the Bard course however, I spoke about the East Coast Gathering for members and friends of OBOD. I had seen the flyer for it amongst the materials I received for my Bard course including Touchstone magazine, a literary magazine/booklet that is from OBOD that you can subscribe to.

Going there to the ECG (East Coast Gathering– http://eastcoastgathering.druidry.org/ was very moving. I was able to give a class there on grounding and shielding and participated in the initiations and main rituals for the season as well as opening and closing ritual if I had made it there in time for those. I learned a great deal and got to meet and make some really wonderful people there, many of which are my friends to this day.

About 4 years ago, the Gulf Coast Gathering (GCG)–http://gulfcoastgathering.druidry.org/ was created in Mandeville, Louisiana. This is located right across the lake from New Orleans and I was able to go to their very first gathering. That was really wonderful as there were only 40 some people there and the ECG had grown to 100 and the whole energy had changed. I prefer the smaller gatherings. They are more intimate and personable and you have time to socialize and to really connect with others. With a cap being made on the camps, the issue I see is that eventually, you will always have the same people going. It will be rare to get too many new people there unless the older ones move on to either go to other camps or form their own.

As with all things, there is a season, a reason and a lifetime as to how long something comes into your life for. Whether it is a path, a vision of learning or people or events. So as I felt it was time to move on from the ECG, I went to the very first MAGUS gathering–http://www.oakandeagle.org/midatlanticgathering/. MAGUS, (Mid Atlantic Gathering US), located in Artemas, PA at the Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary for Beltane! How exciting! Knowing the people who were running it, I was excited to go to this wondrous place and for Beltane of all times! I was asked to be the Grove Mother for the Bard initiations and to put that initiation together. I was deeply honored to do so. I worked with the two people who were in charge of putting together the Ovate and Druid initiations and we worked together as a team, bouncing ideas off each other for the gifts and choosing people. I’ll get into that on another post.

This year, I am to return to GCG as well as to MAGUS. I am looking forward to going and participating in both gatherings and to see and spend some time with some great friends at both events. This is what participating in your spiritual communities can do for you, making friends and connections and learning and experiencing so much with others. It is a truly wonderful and grand experience.

If you are not sure if you should go, be aware that those I have attended are welcoming, warm and inviting. There are friends there just waiting for you to make. If you do feel overwhelmed by all the energies there, I would recommend starting off by going to smaller gatherings, get to know a few people first and then move to the larger ones. Or if you are going to a large one and feel anxious at all, take time for yourself. Most places have areas you can go to on your own and be alone with nature or with just a friend or two. The gatherings can and will enrich your life however, and your own presence will enrich another’s as well.

OBODies, as we are sometimes called, have that sense of presence that envelopes you in a warm cloak of friendship when you find there are others who share your interests. It has truly helped going to these camps to feel that OBOD isn’t just all the way over there, across the pond, but here in the U.S. as well and here, in our own hearts wherever we go.

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Lughnasadh–The First Harvest-New Path

Lughnasadh has always been a special time for me with Lughnasadh eve being my birthday. Our family has always had a big celebration to where we have gotten together and usually travelled to the coast to the Jersey shore. Always a grand time of the year, water is warm enough to swim, the sights and sounds and smells of the boardwalk, rides, food stands, games of chance and the wheel games. It was always the smell of the bay as we were crossing the bridge to Seaside Island Heights that always made me smile and filled me with such wonderful memories.

Lughnasadh is more so about the first harvest. Here in Maine, I have already harvested the broccoli as it came up fast and the tomatoes are getting bigger. The lettuce is definitely ready to be harvested now. Cucumbers, I am behind on so those will be on another harvest time.

This is in honor of the God Lugh. When choosing a patron God, it was difficult to decide on. I didn’t feel the draw to Lugh, perhaps because he’s always been there, feasting with us on my birthday. Cernunnos ended up choosing me instead. But the past year or more I have been hearing Lugh making his presence known. You know that subtle clearing of the throat? Yep, Lugh. I hear him. So on this joyous week of Lughnasadh, I will be looking to cast some stepping stones, one in particular is the Greenman and I plan to paint his leaves a golden yellow and some crimson edges in honor of Lugh. Already I have renewed the wards and protection to the land and the main entrance of the house. I will probably continue with protection throughout the year.

Since my last posting, I was let go from a job I had for over 15 years. So at this point I feel like I was dropped off at a crossroads with several paths before me. It has been difficult to choose which one to go down as there are so many. One thing I do know is that I don’t want to continue down a path where I was working for a company who had lost it’s original reason for being, to care for others, to better the quality of life for other people who are suffering in this world. They have turned to the almighty dollar and forget what they were about, what the original owner had started and what made their name so reputable around the world. Just in how they treated me alone after so many years of loyalty and service and earning them more money than they had ever foreseen before. Sad. But it had been very difficult to work for them the past few years. The money, yes was nice, more than ever but it was eating at my soul as I watched the company going downhill.
Many nice people there, but many who are quick to blow out another’s candle in order to make their’s burn brighter.

So all I can do is turn myself away from that. Let go of the anger, hurt, and sadness. Search for a better way, a better facility or company that has not yet lost sight of what is important in this world.

I looked around and fell into the essential oil company, doTerra. I know there are others out there and yet, there was something about doTerra that drew me in. Part of it was me wanting to be able to purchase my own oils without going to another to do so, but then another part of me, wanted to help other people and learning of the Ovate part of Druidry and of the healing that herbs can do for humans, it led me in a way, to essential oils and their healing properties. So that is one path that I will venture down and explore and see where it may lead me.

But with the coming and passing of Lughnasadh, I feel more connected to the land and how wondrous it is to be able to harvest from my own garden and feel a whole new appreciation for others’ gardens and excitement to see them growing and getting back to the more basics of life, to the earth and to enjoy her bounty. So planting trees and giving them some fresh soil and nutrients, giving back to the land that has given to us.

The stones are coming Lugh. In your honor.

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A Spring Awakening

With the dawning light reflected in the brilliant blue sky comes spring’s fresh air and heralding of brighter days ahead. We have had a lot of snow this year in Maine. Being my first winter up here, I have learned a great deal, for one, learning where you do and don’t put the snow. My drive has become very muddy and the delivery trucks have been having a hard time of it. I have put a large orange bin down by the start so they can put the packages down there instead, at least until the drive dries up a bit more.

Winter has that sleepy way about it with the colder temperatures having you snuggling up in blankets and fleece, gathering around the woodstove with a mug of hot chocolate and melty marshmallows. Perhaps it is that hibernation thing for now it feels as if the Earth that had been sleeping is now awakening once again and it charges up the spirit and makes you feel alive once more.

I have been so excited to have heard the morning birds, mostly the crows outside and realized I had not been hearing them during the winter. Each morning nearly, I am awakened to hear more and varied bird song and calls. I found an app to try to determine what birds they are that I am hearing and it’s been fun to try to figure it out.

I had a lot of plans for the winter, projects I wanted to do and I just didn’t seem to get to them or feel the motivation for them. Of course it did not help that I was terribly sick for a few months with bronchitis and all I wanted to do was to lay in bed and sleep.

But now with the warmer temperatures, I feel motivated to get my lazy behind in gear and start to…MAKE STUFF! For those who know me, know how much I adore the Halloween/Haunt/Samhuinn time of year and I have been learning to make my own props and sets. Having just moved here to Maine last year, that are a ton of boxes in the garage that I need to sort through. I am also insulating the garage and will be gutting out the first bay and redesigning it for a workshop of prop making and a wood working shop. I have a lot of ideas that I want to explore and try out. There is also a second floor to that bay that I am wanting to fix up for guests who may like to stay or just to hang out. Lots of projects and thankfully, lots of time.

For now, a few things I need to work on for an upcoming gathering that I’ll talk of in the next post.

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Being ‘On the Phone’…

I just saw this video shared on Facebook and I started to comment about it and realized this really is a blog post as it became too long. But I wanted to share it and write about it.

Watch it…it speaks volumes all by itself.

Some days, I have sat here at my desk and looked out the window and saw the deer jumping or walking across the drive, well nearly every day. 🙂 But I catch or witness some moments that I wasn’t able to get my phone or ipad to take a pic or vid. I missed the moment or sometimes even if I was able to capture that moment in a digital image or video, it just didn’t do the experience justice from how I felt or how I saw that moment in time for myself. Some things have to be felt and seen with the naked eye.

How many times someone has visited or I was talking with someone and yet they were too busy tending to their phone or to a computer to even look at me. Too busy online with someone and losing the moment of being with a friend in real life. How many times have I done the same thing? I try to be mindful of it because frankly, the person in front of you, is really more important at that moment. I am ever mindful of it when at a restaurant. The only time I will use my phone then is if we are communicating with my children’s father or inviting someone to come join us and I make sure to include them and afterwards, I put it away into my purse so I can enjoy the meal with that other person.

Computers, phones…the internet…they can’t replace the human touch, the human experience. Never could. I used to nearly live my life on the internet at chat sites. Lost in a fantasy world I created or particpated in. I did it on purpose to heal within from a bad real life hurt, but once I did, I realized I had to step away for I was losing out on life. On the beauty of the world all around me.

Like right now, it’s drizzly rainining here and there is a slight fog just above the trees. The larger droplets are falling from the edge of the roof and I can hear a light pitter-patting. The drive where it was snow blowed and plowed, the snow along there is all gray and brown whereas across the lawn is an expansive white. Just under the Twin Sister Birch however, she has shed a few of her twigs and small branches that I want to go and collect and remove the solar lights I had put on her that never worked and apologize to her for she obviously didn’t like that. Nor would I either for that matter.

Yesterday, I saw these little squirrels chasing each other across the snow. Their tails were flickering and it was so cute to see them. But I didn’t take a video of it.

So sometimes, when I am unable to capture these moments, I realize that sometimes, those moments are meant to be experienced, not viewed.

That sometimes, they are just for me to witness or whoever else may be here at the house.

Or sometimes, no one at all. 🙂

And that’s perfectly and simply, ok.

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