Enjoy the journey

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This was a message that really stood out to me as I was doing some spiritual work with a friend last week.

We were listening to a bardic lesson that was going deeper into the story of the Goddess Ceridwen and Taliesin, a story that has many a lesson and learnings embedded and entwined into the words.  When some words came to me that really made me take note – enjoy the journey.

Each of our journeys twists and turns.  Some times we do not quite understand why there is a turn in the road, some times we have an idea of why, which then turns out to be complete different to what we thought.  Most of us do enter into the spiritual path with an idea that it is leading some were, though we may not have an idea of where that is at the time.

From the moment you start on this journey you start to learn, and if is one thing I am certain of, you never stop learning.  So is there really an end point?

I remember doing 1st degree Wicca training, and feeling so good once I had completed it, that was the goal at the time, that was the end point at the time.  To complete 1st degree, but to what end?  The learning did not stop, and if it had I believe I would have lost my way.

After a year, I went on to start and complete the second degree, and then 3rd.  And now thinking back through those times, the end result would never have been there with out the steps through the journey.  I leant so much over time, as I placed one foot and then another along my own journey.  2nd degree was gruelling at times, always present, always in the forefront of my mind what I needed to learn and do next.  And at the same time even with how constant and how much work it was, never did I think I can not do this, the journey through 2nd degree was amazing and something I cherish even now.

At the same time I was reminded that this is not a lesson just for spiritual work, it is for all of life.  For example in the work I do.  Some time the work I do feels like the end goal is years away which can be vey disheartening.  By looking at the journey as the importance and not the end goal it feels so much more lighter and motivating.  “I can do this” are the words that spring to mind when I look at the journey and not the end point.  I can also see where this can be so important in all aspects of life.  The journey is to be enjoyed, I can and will be happy during the journey, not just at the end of it.I never entered the Wiccan path to be a teacher, or a HP, it was never an end goal of mine, it just happened over time.

And still the journey continues, ever questioning, and ever learning. Going deeper and deeper into my own understanding, and at the same time understanding my self just that little better.  One thing I do know is that the learning for me will never stop, and for that I am glad.

To paraphrase from the teaching, I was going through last week “a journey is to be taken, not a destination to be reached”

 

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Tools

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So this week I was given a new tool, it is quite a beautiful new tool that for some people might not come under the heading of a tool.

When we learn about what are the tools of a Wiccan or witch.  We normally see Athama, Wand, Alter, Robe, Cords, BOS etc.  And yes these are the traditional Wiccan tools.  I go a little further then this.

One of the most useful and pretty much the only tool we really need is our selves.  While the rest can be nice to have, the most important and the only one you really need is yourself.  Rituals can be done any were any time with the right intent.  If you do want something you can make a quick alter from a seat, a wand from a twig, your BOS can be a computer.  It is still you that have to use them and still your energy that is helping create them.

In saying that I have said it before and I will say it again, I know I do not need my tools, but I really like having them.  They can make it a little easier to get in the right space.  They store energy from working with them, and this is the main reason why I have a lot of things that do not normally make the list that in my head I do call tools.

An example of my own list include, bowls that I made over 15 years ago that I use to mark the quarters, my $1 opp shop candle holder, as well as a beautiful candle holder set I was gifted by one of my students.  My drum, my many books, my runes, and now most recently my rattle which was added only a few days ago.  Which brings up another question I hear a lot – should I buy, make or wait till my tools come to me?  And should they be totally natural material?

Well, do what feels right for you.  Some I have made, some have been gifted, some are store brought, my wand I won in a raffle.  When you look at my alter you do not see a matching, pretty, well set out alter.  You see an alter that gets used and you see tools that get used.  Nothing matches, and yet it all fits together.  Some are totally natural materials, some are not.  What is there feel, how I feel about them and them about me, that is what is important to me.

So please, if you are worried about what, when or how with your tools.  Do I have enough or too many, am I a proper Wiccan with out them – Stop.  It will be what it is.  Think about how you use them, how they feel and let them happen, trust yourself when a new tool comes your way that it is right.

Why is it so ruddy hard some times?

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We all come to Wicca, or any spiritual path in different ways.  Some grow up with there path, some find it by chance (or more likely when they are meant to), others are looking for what fits them best.  One thing I do find in common no matter which path you take is that some times it is just plan hard.

Spirituality becomes part of your life, and there are times when I know I have been really grateful from the lessons and learnings that walking my own path have done.  I also know at times I have cursed it, the lesson during this time has usually been a big one and not that pleasant to go through.

Now I know that in the future I will be grateful for what ever lesson it is I am meant to be learning.  Grateful for being pushed to work with a deep problem that I have.  And I know that breaking through what ever problem it is will benefit me in the future.  There are just some times when that thought is not very helpful.

Right now I am learning Spanish to prepare for a trip, how to make me feel really stupid – stick a dyslexic person into a language class.  Now I know I am doing my best, and unlike back in school all those years ago, the teacher is very understanding of why my progress is slow, and at time backwards.  Even the other students are more than understanding.  And yet each time I have to make myself sit there and keep going, tears threatening.  All from past experiences and past triggers that have been installed in my brain from back in Primary school.

And now the hard bit comes into it and it is because of my spiritual practices I actually feel the need to go deeper into this, work at it and really identify what the heck is going on in my head.  Hell here is a 40-year-old who is reduced to tears by something as simple as sitting in a class room??  Really – Yep.

So for the past 4 weeks I have been going deeper into this, looking at past experiences, re-living them, changing the perspective of them in my head.  After all, from those experiences I learnt how to progress, work with being dyslexic and achieve all that I have.  And some nights I have been brought to this deeper experience gladly, and some nights I am tired and I am dragged kicking and screaming even though I know it will be better once I get through it.

Why is it sometimes hard, so we can really feel the progress, really feel the wins and the joy that comes with breaking through.  To remind us to enjoy life, to look up and watch the breeze through the trees, and smell the flowers.  To remind us that some times no matter how bad it gets, there is always a new day and a new dawn, and things really do feel better in the morning.

 

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Plant, Animal, Human?

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How does it work and how should it be?  I have been reading a few newsletters and articles that express this thought differently.  What I mean by this, is is there 2 categories of living species, or three.

  • Plant and animal; or
  • Plant, animal and human?

For myself for a very long time I know I view this as only 2, plant and animal.  For me humans are in the animal category as we are an animal.  I think I have trouble separating this into 3 as I do not see humans as any more or any less important than any other animal or plant.

Now the interesting thing about this is I also know that the people writing a few of the things I have been reading lately that do separate into 3, also do not believe humans are any more or any less important than plants or animals either, so why do I let it bother me?

I think this is because of the work I do in the environmental sector and in the business sector.  I see businesses and the people behind business put humans first in their business model and thus actually end up creating unsustainable businesses.  I also see what you can achieve when you respect all and create a business around working with plants and animals instead of destroying or disregarding them.

I see how words and how you describe things can create precedents or assumptions that are actually untrue.  So by describing humans as separate it can be perceived that they are more important, or higher up.  This reminds me of one of the very first lessons I did when studying 1st degree Inclusive Wicca – how do you describe yourself, Witch, Pagon, Wiccan, all three, or none?  And again really it comes down to what you perceive those words mean and then do they relate to you or not?

Then also remembering that some one else may have different perceptions on what the words mean so while you may think with your interpretations they would be all three.  They, with there interpretations of those words, may not.  And it is important to respect others points of view.

So in this I guess I really should be taking my own advice, know they do not mean humans come first or are more important.  It is just how they express their views which is basically the same as mine anyway.

After all, the more all of the different living species that live on this rock floating around a sun, floating around in space work together.  The happier we will all be.

 

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The seasonal celebrations

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As we move around the wheel I find myself thinking about the wheel and the dates of the celebrations and do they reflect my own geographical location?

I live in a rather large island, even in the territory that I live there is a vast difference in seasons 2000kms north in the top end to the arid zone in the center where I am.

People that live on the east coast again experience differences and then it also depends on how far north or south you live.  Same with the west coast.  So are the dates right, are the names of the seasons right or do we move them about?

There is no simple answer to that.  I find I use the current wheel of the year as it makes it simpler for me.  Makes it easier to mark in my diary and plan for.  Hang on, Right now in central Australia we have just had a bumper citrus harvest, so should not the celebrations represent this and be a harvest festival?

I think in truth every seasonal celebration, can and does celebrate all aspects of life.  While Ostara and Mabon can emphasize balance, so can other celebrations if you want them to.  Harvests happen all the time, we harvest different foods at different times of the year, death happens all year, as does new life.  In some ways I think that the wheel evolved over time to bring each aspect of the seasons to the forefront and help give us a way of celebrating it.

So is there anything wrong with celebrating something different, well in my opinion no.  I remember being at a druid weekend when we looked at death as part of Beltane, we even made skulls out of clay.  Not a normal traditional thing to do for Beltane.  I know I have celebrated different harvests in spring and summer which are not traditionally the harvest festivals.

I come back to that same important question – what is the intention?  If the intention is to stick by old ways and follow the traditional wheel then go for it if that is what you need.  If your intention is to celebrate the turning of the wheel and all that goes with it then fantastic do what you need to do.  For me I know the Wheel is a guide, it does make it easier for me to plan and give me ideas on how I can celebrate.  At the same time I know I pull inspiration from the place I live and where I am, which means some times I might just celebrate death in spring, or a harvest in summer.  And that is fine by me.

Sprit Animals

 

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In researching for Ostara I again came across the story of the Rabbit whom used to be a bird.  When found by the Goddess Ostara as a bird whom was close to death, she changed into a rabbit giving him a new life.

In my resent Shamanic Journeying work I have been working with one of my animal helpers in more ways than I ever done before.  In reading the story again of Ostara and a voice in my head asked a question that I am still attempting to put into words.

How much more or less important are Sprit Animals relationships compared to your relationship with the Gods and Goddesses?  Are we more likely to form relationships with the Gods and Goddesses as they take on human form therefore easier to relate to rather than an animal (or other).

In the Ostara story the Rabbit produces the eggs as he wants to bring happiness to the Goddess (or in other versions is ordered to bring her happiness in payment of saving his life).  It then reminded me of how we often see Gods and Goddesses with animals doing there bidding, or being an important part of there life.  My mind comes to the ones that are pulled around in a chariot (or similar) by an animal or two.  Why not the animal being carried around by the God or Goddess, is this our own human perception coming in putting human at the top of the tree?

And it is this thought that has me troubled, or thinking (I am not sure which word to use there).  I personally put no one on top of the tree, I put everything in a circle as nothing is any more or less important than each other.  As all life relay on everything else for survival.  A factor that I think has been forgotten in years past as people separated themselves from nature.

And so I come back to sprit animals and how I am glad the current steps of my spiritual journey I have been working with a sprit animal and opening up to others as well (most recently the sprit of trees).  I wonder how come it took me this long but then maybe it is just as simple as now is the time they want to work with me and before they were not.  I am not sure, I am just glad they are.

 

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What it is about trees?

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Trees are for me a very important aspect of my spiritual path, my spiritual being.  And yet I have thought about it recently and I find it difficulty to put into words exactly what trees are for me.

Trees for me represent so much.  Connectivity, between roots, trunk and leaves, earth and sky, the elements of earth, air, fire and water, lower, middle and upper worlds, and the importance of energy that is connect and flowing through everything.  They represent strength, diversity, beauty, change, complexity, simplicity and fragile.

The mechanisms of a tree, how food, communication and energy is moved all around the tree and its different levels.  How each species of tree does this a little differently, some needing fire, others more water, insects and birds at different levels, some even need different types of trees to be near them, or different soil compounds or altitude levels.  This reminds me how we are all different and that being different is neither wrong or right.  It is just different.

We often hear people talk about our central Australian desert trees as hardy.  People assume they have to be to survive in this climate of intense heat, and bitter cold.  Well yes, sort of.  They have adapted to suit the arid climate, and for some only a small shift in what the trees would call a normal climate will put them under stress.  So in reality while they look very strong and hardy, they are actually quite fragile.

I can however see where this perception of hardy and strong comes from.  This is an intense place at times, and you only have to watch a young Red River Gum sapling that has been successfully growing its roots for 4 or 5 years into the sandy soils of the creek bed.  Then the flood comes, and if you have not put your roots down far enough then all you end up with is a sapling floating down the river.

So there is so much about life that is imbedded in trees, is this why they are so important to me, is it that I relate better to trees than other living things that could also teach me?  I am not sure and maybe one day I will work it out, and maybe one day I will not.

Ether way I know how important my relationship with trees is to me even if I do not quite understand the “why”.  And that is Ok with me.  After all, who said I have to understand it.

Photo: Camping at the bace of a Red River Gum in Emily Creek, 2015