Archive for August, 2011

Cobwebs

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Every year when I was a child, my grandmother would have Spring cleaning. It was time for the chimney sweep to come and clean out the chimney. I remember, my job was to go out in the yard and watch for the brush to come out of the top of the chimney and then run inside to tell the sweep. I didn’t realize until much later that he didn’t really need for me to do that, but it did get me out of the house while he did his job.

During this time we would open all the windows and take all the bed linens out to hang on the clothes line in the sunshine. My grandmother would start upstairs and work her way down and then eventually out the back door. As she would say “it is time to get all the cobwebs out”. It was a busy and exciting time. Winters in England are long and were very cold. The house had been kept closed up against the North Wind, and the ice and snow for so long. It felt so good to have it all open.

Cleaning and opening up is still part of a process of clearing the clutter from our home. Getting the cobwebs out is good. This came home to us as we recently inherited my wife’s grandmothers home and it had years of clutter and being closed up. After a lot of hard work, it is beginning to shape up. It did, however, make us think not only about the clutter in our home, but also the clutter in our lives. We decided that we are hoarders, not as bad as the ones on the reality shows, but yet we keep a lot of things “in case we need them”. As I said, this not only applies to our “things”, but our lives in general.

We decided to clear out the things in life that do not serve us well. This included organizations to which we belong as well as friends and acquaintances that we are constantly chasing after. I had some “friends” that I had kept in touch with for years. I would call them and they would always say things like, “I’ve been thinking about you and was going to call”. The only problem is they never did. When I cleaned the cobwebs from my life and stopped calling them, that was the end as they have never called me since. These are one-way friendships and my time and energy is too valuable to feed this type of relationship.

So I recommend that everyone look at the cobwebs in their life and see what is there. Once you rid yourself of the things that clutter you home and life, it opens up many possibilities. People may not realize is that while the physical clutter in your life take takes a lot of energy to keep organized and stored as well as physical space, people, organizations and non-material clutter takes a lot of your personal energy.

When we are in a relationship, be it romantic, friendship or organizational, maintaining the ties takes time and energy and sometimes money. How often have you said I wish I had more time, money, or energy? It’s the cobwebs and the clutter that rob you of those vital resources. My wife and I have challenged each other to reign in the energies that are out there and not serving us. I in turn challenge my readers to do likewise. It doesn’t matter that it is not Spring. Start now to de-clutter your life and make it more usable for you. It is your energy that you are wasting. It is amazing how much more of your resources you will have available to contribute to the things in life that matter.

Getting the cobwebs out of your life can be stressful and perhaps this is why we have a tendency to avoid doing so. We make excuses and put it off for another time. It is really a catch 22. The more we procrastinate, the more stressed we become and yet it is stressful to take action. The solution is to be grounded and to take care of yourself during this clean-up phase. The best way to do this is to develop a meditation routine. So many people say they don’t have time to meditate. This is the one spiritual practice that is more important than any other. If I had to give up something in my spiritual life, it would not be meditation. Not only will meditation improve your spiritual life, but also help you at work, at play as well as enabling you to have more energy and clearer thinking, no matter what you are doing. So if you are not meditating because you don’t have time, you can make time by clearing out cobwebs. So clear out those cobwebs from the corners of your home and life and let me know how it impacts on your life. And, don’t forget to use some of that new found time and energy for meditation. I will write more about the importance of meditation and how to develop a meditation practice soon.

Books

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

A couple of days ago I purchased nine new books. After I made my purchases it made me think about books in general and most specifically my obsession with books. I have an extensive library of books almost all of which are either Wiccan, Pagan or the occult. I will read a book once and then keep it for reference or to read again later. When I re-read a book that I read several years ago, I oftentimes find material that I didn’t see before. I believe that when that happens we were just not ready for that piece of information the first time we read it. Even my original book of shadows (that is hand written by me) sometimes reveals information long forgotten or just not as relevant at the time as it is now.

It is said that when you are ready a teacher will appear. This must also apply to the books we read once and are not ready, only to read again when we are ready. Teachers come in many forms, human, animal, plant, mineral and even media such as movies, T.V. (ugh) and the written word. The only limitation I have is time and sometimes discipline. I also find the more we observe life the more that is revealed to us. It is like a self fulfilling prophesy, the more see the more we want to see and therefore the more we see, etc.

I have filled several bookcases with books that I have collected over the years and they are like old friends, with whom I would not want to part. Maybe in some way they are better than old friends as old friends will move away, get busy in other interests or even get mad about something little thing and move on with their lives. My books just wait around until I get ready to pick them up and read them once more. They never get mad, jealous or lose interest. They are just there, like a faithful dog with a long life.

I was better about buying books for a while. After all books are expensive and they take up a lot of room. Once I discovered that I could buy used books much cheaper on the internet, my passion was in full bloom again. This too got expensive, the book cases bulged and a new bookcase had to be built costing me more money. So I cut back on my book buying, at least for a while. Then along came books that could be downloaded on-line and they were free. They were in PDF form and I had to read them on my computer, but free is good.

Then one day I bought a Kindle. I think it will hold 3500 books. I had discovered book Utopia. Now I could have a bookcase full of books in my hand and take it anywhere. My reference books were ready and I didn’t have to hunt and find where I left them last time. But, as evidenced buy my last purchase it can become obsessive. In my own defense, I only paid 99 cents per book and some were classics and references. In fact a couple of them are duplicates of books I have on my shelves. The advantage is I no longer need to lug a briefcase full of books when I travel. I just need to remember to bring the charger for the Kindle.

Some of the sites I find inexpensive or free books are:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/

http://www.hermetics.org/library/Library_Gnostic.html

http://dealoz.com/

http://www.forgottenbooks.org/index.php

http://www.amazon.com

The Veil

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

I know that we all have our personal feelings as well as those of our tradition when it comes to what happens when we pass through the veil. For many it is something they do not want to think about. Perhaps because they are young and believe they have a full life ahead of them and there is no need to spend time thinking about something so far down the road. For others it is the fear, or terror, of dying that keeps them from thinking about death and dying. And, while it is not a subject to dwell on for too long, lest we get melancholy or even depressed, it is something we must all face someday.

 Since most of us Wiccans and Pagans came from a Christian background and from an early age have been taunted with the rewards of heaven and the terrors of hell, it is hard to switch gears to the reality of a Summerland where we all go. To a place of love, peace and rest. A place where no one is waiting to judge us or even to weigh the weight of our heart against a feather. It does seem that there has frequently been threats of punishment and reward associated with the afterlife in most mainstream religions. What a powerful way to keep their subjects, members and citizens doing their will. Fear is a powerful motivator.

 It does seem interesting to me that since so many Christians believe, or so they say, that they are going to heaven when they die, that they fear death so much. This has been brought to my doorstep by some recent events. The first of these was the death of my mother-in-law. A Christian woman who, although in pain and living in a nursing home, fought death so very vigorously. It was not until the day of her death that she found the peace, through the comforting words about heaven from the hospice chaplain, and was ready to pass through the veil.

The second brush with the afterlife came when my father, also a devout Christian, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and placed in an Intensive Care Unit. After many ups and downs, all the while calling out “I don’t want to die!” and reciting the “Lord’s Prayer”, he flat-lined. Since he didn’t have a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR), he was revived. He is currently in a nursing home and making slow progress.

The third incident was our cat, and I know she is Wiccan like us, passed through the veil on night not too long ago. She was slowly fading and finally quit eating and drinking. I visited with her on the night of her death and she seemed very much at ease. She passed away later that night in her sleep and I found her where I left her, the next morning.

With so much death and near death around me lately, it has caused me to reexamine my thoughts and beliefs in the dying process and what waits for me beyond the veil. I know that I do not fear death and also that I know there are many things much worse than death. Perhaps also because I am older and have had a wonderful life so far, I am comfortable with the idea of dying. I know that it is something that I, as well as everyone else must eventually face. When I think of this, I think of the words of the great Persian poet Rumi, who said:

When I die

I will fly with the angels

and when I die to the angels

What I shall become

You cannot imagine

I am comforted in my mind and my soul. I believe in reincarnation and that the afterlife will be a respite before another incarnation. I know that I must make the best of the life I have and to live life to its fullest. And yet, take care of my body and soul while I am able to do so. I believe that death is the final frontier, of this lifetime and I will go where many have gone before me including myself. I am not ready to die, but I am prepared to accept it when my time comes and I want to go like my cat and not like my Christian family members. I will go in peace knowing that there are loved ones, ancestors, spirit guides and gods there waiting to help me with that transition, oh and those angels too. I pray that you may also find peace and understanding that the veil is not the end, but the next great adventure.

Conversation with a Cricket

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

On a recent afternoon when it wasn’t quite as hot as is has been this Summer, I stepped out on my front porch for a breath of fresh air. My wife had gone to town to run some errands and I was expecting her back at any moment. The dogs went out with me and immediately ran off to do what dogs do. As I was standing there I looked down on the rail and there was a cricket. We looked at each other and I decided to move a little closer as did he. We were eventually very close and looking at each other. I spoke and he seemed to listen.

We exchanged greetings and looked each other over. It was at that point that I noticed he had only one antenna. The other one was broken off over half way down. So we had some common ground. I had a motorcycle accident many years ago and I still walk with a slight limp. Well, it is slight most days and depending on the weather and what I have been up to, it is more than slight. We talked about how an injury can slow you down and maybe even limit some activities. I told him how I had not been careful and that had caused my injury. He said that it was the same for him.. A careless moment and a flying predator had swooped down and snipped off his antenna. Actually he liked to call them his antlers. We agreed it it only takes a moment of carelessness or inattention for something bad to happen.

About that time my wife came home and as she walked up the steps and my new friend moved to the far side of the rail. I don’t know if the fact that her name is Dragonfly had anything to do with it. And, by the way they don’t call them dragonflies because they are nice and easy to get along with. Anyway, she went into the house and as soon as she did, my friend turned and returned to my side of the rail. We chatted a little longer and both agreed that we must be more careful if we are to survive this world.

I needed to go inside, so we thanked the gods for this opportunity, wished each other well and said goodbye. A little later I went out on the back porch and there on the rail was another cricket. I was excited after my recent encounter and moved a little closer. At that point the cricket flew off in a panic. Evidently not all crickets are as brave or as friendly as the one I met in the front yard. I laughed and thought how special it was to have had this inter-species conversation with a cricket. I have looked for him since, but have not seen him again. I hope he remembered to be careful.