A Thanksgiving Transmutation of Tens

[This article can be found in it’s entirety posted on my column, Witch on Fire, November 24th, 2015.]

It is Thanksgiving week here in the US and as usual there is some tension between the materialism of Black Friday, and the spiritual considerations of gratitude and benevolence.  Recently, I had what some would call a crises of faith regarding my own material needs. I’m walking the tight rope between a need to pay for the necessities of life and my sacred mission of service. In short, I think about money, or the lack thereof, a lot. Some might think that isn’t enlightened to admit publicly. I beg to differ.

My witchcraft is about a healthy balance between all the five elements of life: physical, emotional, mental, will, and spirit. You know, the equal interweaving of the 5 points of the pentacle. None of that “denial of the flesh,” or “vow of poverty” bull around this witch’s cottage. Nope, we aim to “drink the good wine to the old gods” here, especially so when we feast in thanksgiving. Well, that feast comes with a price tag, so a required part of my praxis is the hard work spent manifesting the resources we need to not just survive, but thrive.

The tens cards of the Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris.

The tens cards of the Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris.

A Transmutation of Tens

Let us not forget that the tarot deck, the bread and butter of a witches’ tool box, has an entire suit devoted to the lessons of our survival through good health and enough wealth; the job that puts food on the table and pays the doctor’s bills. In some decks that is the suit of coins, or pentacles; in my beloved Thoth Tarot deck it is the suit of disks.

During my soul searching these past weeks, I found wise guidance through the tens cards of my deck. I recognized that the last years of my life flowed through these lessons…like a transmutation, a change from something base to something precious. A pattern in my life emerged that can be illustrated by the tens cards of Wealth, Oppression, Ruin and Satiety.

[Click here to read the rest of the story at Patheos Pagan Channel, at Witch on Fire.]

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Celebrating Samhain: The Poison and the Antidote

<Originally posted October 13th, 2015. Reblogged from my column Witch on Fire at Patheos.com on the Pagan Channel. To read the full article click here.>

The winds have shifted, my lovelies. The surge into darkness, the peak of receding draws nearer and the mists part between the worlds. There are whispers on that wind, and glintings from the corners of the third-eye…slipping betwixt and between to commune with the living. The Mighty Dead walk among us for this liminal time between times, so we light the lanterns, and set them a place of honor at our feast tables.

It is Samhain-tides again, the final harvest;  a time of acceptance that death comes for everyone in it’s own correct time. In reverence we embrace the sacred dark. Yet, in mirthful paradox, we affirm the deliciousness of life, staring death in the eye, raising our glasses to toast that today we LIVE, and live large to honor our beloved dead.

Continue here to keep reading…

a tarot card featuring a dancing skeleton labeled "Death"

 

 

Announcing: Witch on Fire

Hello, my lovelies. Long time; no post. Sorry ’bout that.

Back at Imbolc, I dedicated to writing more, possibly a book, being the willing channel for Hermes and Aphrodite to make widely known Her Thealogy of Divine Love. I even asked for opportunities to travel for speaking/teaching engagements in other communities.

In April, I was privileged to enact the second degree initiation within The Sojo Circle, making vows to the Gods and my community to serve as their priestess. Expect a future blog on how deeply meaningful and powerful that process was for me.

But I digress. Almost immediately after the Imbolc dedication, I traveled to Pantheacon, and the message from Hermes was an undeniable, “Shut up; pay attention.”  That is why I haven’t posted anything here in months. Heck, I couldn’t even find my favorite journaling pen until last week.

That message shifted and changed after Litha’s fires were extinguished. There is a story to tell here, but I’m saving that for a special post on my new column at The Patheos Pagan Channel, on the Agora blog, July 30th.

That’s the big announcement: Jason Mankey wrote to invite me to become a columnist for the Agora, which kinda freaked me out. I mean, I consider that to be both a great honor and a great responsibility. I revere so many of the Authors there. I confess to suffering a panic attack of self-doubt.  Nevertheless, I accepted. 🙂 So, starting officially in August, I will be the contributing columnist on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.

But what to call the column? Meditation and divination happened. There were a few long, sleepless nights.  The undeniable guidance from my patrons was to call it Witch on Fire.  Way to go, Heron, always bludgening the squishy places with the blunt-force irony.

But I’m a pisces! I have almost no fire in my birth chart, whatsoever. I’m afraid I’ll evaporate and lose myself. What If I can’t keep my ego in check? Witch on Fire DivinationTarot Messages:

Art:  Alchemy, catalyst, union of fire and water; melting of contradictions. “I surrender to the transforming powers of The divine. I am an open channel of creative energy.”

Queen of Wands: Watery aspect of Fire, Mastery of self-knowledge, transformation. Time to learn how to share that with others. “I am a radiant being filled with light and love.”

Knight of Disks: Sacred mission brings in the harvest. Now is the time to set your abilities to service, the tasks are large and demand the full use of your powers. “With every task that needs doing, comes also the energy needed to accomplish the task.”

I’m looking back over the journey of the last 10 years, that brought me from the fearful, lonely depths of the broom closet, to this out-and-proud, public witch, priestess and shop-keeper that I am today.  It all started when I first heard the catalyzing proverbs:

“‘Tis better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Shining a light; being a light; creating change in accordance with my WILL; rising up to be the warrior witch, staring down the Balrog, defending the boundaries….

So many metaphors to choose from, but its all been about fire….un-shuttering the flame of my own, inner truths so that others can find their own way out of the broom closet…Being the lighthouse keeper for Spirit, helping others find their way into safe harbor, avoiding the treacherous rocks of fear and despair. I’ve willingly become a catalyst of change within the Craft, so that it could evolve with the modern world. That’s what I do.

Plus, I can’t pass up a chance to transmute the horrors of the burning time, to reclaim that power.

I am grateful for this opportunity with Patheos Pagan channel to extend the visible range of that light. I’m just going to keep on doing what I do, and hope it is a benefit in the world. Stay tuned for my upcoming article: “Witch on Fire: Lammas Sacrifice and the Sacred Mission.”

Blessings,

~Heron Michelle

Rule #4: Must be Present to Win, Tarot Message

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…continued… This blog is the fifth part in a series that began with Heron’s Rules of Modern Witchcraft, and continued with Rule #1: Don’t Burn the Witch. and Rule #2: Don’t be the Asshole. Rule #3: Don’t be the Weak Link. If you’ve made it this far, thanks! You are a reader of great fortitude!

Recap: Rule #4: Must be Present to Win, Tarot Message

Speak up: To walk the path of the Witch, you have to seek it out, ask for it, keep persisting and insisting until the way is opened. This path is not for the feint of will, heart or mind.

Show Up: You want this wisdom? This power? It’s not available by mail order; there will be no remote down-load; no one else holds the keys to your gateway. Get yourself to the crossroads and DO THE WORK. Now do it again…and again, with every breath, in full-engagement in the dance. The minute you project the locus of your control onto anyone or anything outside of yourself, you might as well hand in your pointy hat, because you lose. “If that which you seek you find not within, you will never find it without.”~Charge of the Goddess.

Wake up: Do not squander the gift of this exquisite moment. Be fully present in the joy and the pain, the abundance and the lack, the spanking and the kiss, all of it. Courageously approach everything that life has to offer because it all hones your wisdom and power to propel you forward in your evolution.

Take-up the magickal weapons to defend the boundaries. Be the warrior. Confront your fears and tackle them into submission. No matter what the issue, it can only be solved by being fully present, listening, observing, engaging compassionately with people in person, especially when there is a conflict to resolve or a need to be met.

With no fool a season spend, nor be counted as their friend: “Haters” of any stripe cannot simultaneously claim to be a Witch and be taken seriously. Defrock them. Warlock them (in the most traditional sense of term “warlock” being the banishment from the coven as an “oath-breaker” and a binding of their harm.)  If you know a magickal practitioner who is doing deliberate harm for ego-maniacal gain, a sociopath bent on baneful manipulation to serve their own ends, then they are not a Witch, they are a fool. The long version of the Wiccan Rede states: With no fool a season spend, nor be counted as their friend. If you do nothing to stop them, you are guilty by association.

Be proud: Do not hide behind lies, or facades. Witches of good conscience cannot continue to knuckle under to, nor ignore, the “witch burners” of our society who would seek to silence us, intimidate us, or do us harm. Nor can we blithely accept the divisive, abusive behavior of those claiming to be Witches among us.

lighthouse_westcott_bigBe the Lighthouse: Come out of the broom closet.  No parade is necessary, just the mere outer acknowledgement, where it is effective, while we unshutter our flames like lighthouses on the rocky shores of this society; not chasing the ships, just standing tall and sturdy, and shining brightly without shame.

WE ARE WITCHES.  If we cannot take up the power to be fully present and beneficial in this society, accurately known for our contributions, then who can be? We have to BE PRESENT TO WIN!

Tarot Query: What lessons do you offer us through “Must be Present to Win?”
Highest Divine Guidance speaks to how we are to attend to our outer relationships within our community.

Card: 5 of Wands: Strife– In the realm of thought, Divine asks us to dismiss what we think we know and begin to WONDER about facing situations ans doing something about it. Not resigning, not becoming embittered, nor allowing unfulfilled desires or restrictions.

Card: 9 of Wands: Strength In the realm of will, we are asked to apply the full force of our passions, drive, WILL, to our inner strength, to banish the darkness of ignorance, let our latent powers be awakened and power found by unifying conscious and unconscious energies to find wholeness.

Card: 5 of Cups: Disappointment In the realm of emotion, Divine directs us to ACCEPT that there will be unfulfilled expectations and sometimes a lost balance from problematic relationships. Learn from these situations, not hide from them. Where do we fool ourselves? Do not engage in emotional battles from expecting the same results without doing anymore work.

Card: 5 of Swords: Defeat In the realm of the physical, we are asked to RESONATE outward and draw forth from the void of potential an acknowledgement of our fears, understanding that fear is irrational in nature and does not reflect the truth of the situation. Control is an illusion. Release your fear of defeat, and you will be set free.

Card: III The Empress Highest Divine Guidance wants us to understand that by “being present to win” we will interact within our communities with sovereignty, as beings of beauty, love, and wisdom, in a process of evolving into our compassion and nurturing, filled with creative power. We will become the gateways between Spirit and Matter that serve with a place of Divine Love.

As I am dedicated to Aphrodite/Venus this turning, and this is Her card, I also felt a deep sense of Her presence and a confirmation that I am on the right track to apply Her lessons.

This is my interpretation. What do these cards and messages mean to you? How does this message inform how you would apply “Must be Present to Win” to your own life?
In gratitude, blessed be.

Rule #2: Don’t be the Asshole, Tarot Message

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…continued… This blog is the third part in a series that began with Heron’s Rules of Modern Witchcraft, and continued with Rule #1: Don’t Burn the Witch. I will post the tarot spreads for each of the rules in subsequent blogs.
To recap: What I mean by “Don’t be the Asshole”

  1. If through your behavioral choices you cease to be a beneficial member of society, becoming a detriment, a harm, by violating any one of the necessary love-conditions in the world around you. These are:

Acceptance of who people truly are without threat to their emotional boundaries.

Acknowledging sovereignty of others, without threatening their free-will or liberty.

Adequate resources to preserve good health, without threatening survival.

Physical affection, including healthy sexual expression, without threatening sexual identity or access to nurturing.

A means of personal expression, and being heard as a being of dignity and worth, without threatening their sense of value within society.

Security and privacy, safety from physical harm.

Acting with authenticity, that you and your actions are exactly what you present them to be without ulterior motive or any attempt to exploit others.

Trust in your perception of your environment and those around you, as offering you the same consideration that you offer others. (You can see more about this subject on my Divine Love blog .)

  1. If you witness any violation of the above love conditions and through apathy, or neglect of your responsibility, you do nothing to stop someone from harming others or the world around them, then you are choosing to be part of the problem, not a benefit. Example: If you hear violence against your neighbor, call the police.

Query: What lessons do you offer us through “Don’t Be the Asshole”
Highest Divine Guidance speaks to how we are to apply attention to our outer relationships in society.
Card: XV The Devil In the realm of thought, Divine asks us to dismiss what we think we know and begin to WONDER about our shadow sides, our wants and desires, our lusty, ego-centric needs, and find a healthy way to express and explore that side of ourselves. Why are we demonized? Begin to wonder how we can express our vitality while remaining practical and grounded.
Card: Knight of Cups In the realm of will, we are asked to apply the full force of our Will, our passions, and drive, to a harvest of emotional maturity, to Spiritual relationships in a community of like-minds, and to achieving higher emotional planes and mutual understanding.
Card: 9 of Swords, Cruelty In the realm of emotion, Divine directs us to ACCEPT
the reality that when you are the asshole you are being cruel to yourself, heartless, and it is just a form of self-denigration. You are sabotaging yourself and must stop this behavior pattern. “Rule #1: Don’t burn the Witch,” including yourself.
Card: 8 of Wands, Swiftness In the realm of the physical, we are asked to HOLD THE SPACE, to BE SILENT and observant, paying attention to the subtle manifestations of our goals. Allow swift communication to overcome misunderstandings and hindrances. Nothing is in your way to attain your goals; move quickly. Adapt to change; define where you stand; your openness and self-confidence will open hearts.
Card: 10 of Disks, Wealth Highest Divine Guidance asks you to interact with your community knowing that you will attract to yourself everyone and every situation in your life–that you create your reality. The wealth of the Universe is in your hands and its yours to do with as you like, but the responsibility is yours. If you share this wealth openly with others you will be endlessly wealthy. Make your inner wealth visible and share that with others. This brings to mind the Hermetic Principle of Vibration. Like attracts like, dontcha know? Wealth consciousness begets wealth and generous interactions with others. Asshole consciousness begets selfishness and a parade of assholery and abuse by others.
This is my interpretation. What do these cards and messages mean to you? How does this message inform how you would apply “Don’t be the Asshole” to your own life?
In gratitude, blessed be.
Stay tuned for the tarot messages for:
Rule #3: Don’t be the Weak Link
Rule #4: Must be Present to Win.

Rule #1: Don’t Burn the Witch, Tarot Message

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This blog is the second part to Heron’s Rules of Modern Witchcraft.

…continued to:  Rule #2: Don’t be the Asshole,

Rule #3: Don’t be the Weak Link

Rule #4: Must be Present to Win.

To recap: What I mean by “Don’t Burn the Witch”

  1. Practice basic fire safety with thorough respect for the Powers of Fire.
  2. Do not conjure what you cannot banish.
  3. Begin by healing, loving and respecting yourself. “If that which you seek you find not within, you will never find it without.”
  4. Protect, defend and support your fellow Witches, engaging them with mutual respect, in “perfect love and perfect trust.”

September 23, 2014, after I awoke from the Mabon Day Revelation dream, I grabbed up my Thoth Tarot Deck and engaged Spirit in a conversation about each of my Rules of Modern Witchcraft. I used a spread I developed last year that I call the Witches’ Pyramid Spread. This spread has since become a key instrument in my divinatory practice as it speaks to the evolutionary process and works especially well when I’m reading for magickal people engaged in The Great Work.

Query: What lessons do you offer us through “Don’t Burn the Witch”

Highest Divine Guidance speaks to how we are to apply attention to our outer relationships in society.

Card: The Magus In the realm of thought, Divine is asking us to dismiss what we think we know and begin to WONDER  about the brilliant capabilities, skills and tools we have to share with others, and how we can create the world we desire through clear communication. We are asked how the full expression of our creative potentials can bring us happiness. How can we become fully-realized mages, capable of creating the world we desire?

Card: The Princess of Disks In the realm of will, we are asked to SURRENDER to a new beauty entering our lives; to become the gateway to a new identity, to a new concept. We are asked to rebel against the old ways, and gain sovereignty over what we manifest in the world. We must surrender to the transformative powers of divine harmonic balance.

Card: 5 of Wands: Strife In the realm of emotion, Divine directs us to DARE to overcome restriction, to face the strife of the situation and do something about it, to express ourselves creatively. Face our adversaries and build our strength, gaining dominion, by bravely facing any resistance to our will-power.

Card: Knight of Wands In the realm of the physical, we are asked to RESONATE, to make the quest into the void of potential, applying dynamic forward motion, seeking out and gaining increased insight, resulting in a mastery of growth and development, and changes in consciousness. Be grateful for this gift from existence; every challenge that arises will help us grow. It is our time to reap the harvests we’ve long worked to achieve.

Card: 8 of Swords: Interference Highest Divine Guidance for our outer relationships with society, asks us to relax and trust life; stop worrying so much about our choices. Problems which seem unsolvable will find their solution in their own way. Apply endurance and trust in all that we do. We have a choice to “burn” or to nurture ourselves and our fellow humans. What sort of neighbor do we wish to be?

So, this is my interpretation. What do these cards and messages mean to you? How does this message inform how you would apply “Don’t Burn the Witch” to your own life?

In gratitude, blessed be.

A Dream Not to be Forgotten

Garden-Wedding-Idea1I am a dreamer, literally.  All my life I dream great epoch dreams of adventure and exploration, full-color, full-detail, full-emotion, and sometimes prophetic, or “lucid” where I know I’m dreaming and can take control of the experience to work things out, solve problems, and stretch my wings. In those moments, I tend to fly.  Gravity, schmavity. 😉

Wednesday morning, I had a very different kind of dream. This one was about the emotion of the thing and there was no control over anything…like being caught in the rapids of a rushing river, all you can do is be taken with it, and try to keep your head above water.  It was the sort of dream that clings to you for days afterward like the greasy stink of burning oil, heavy and acrid.

When this dream began I was bursting with love and happiness, giddy excitement on my wedding day. Dressed in white and delicate laces, hair twisted gracefully with tiny white flowers, and cascading in wispy curls to the shoulders. I felt like a full-body smile, as though the flesh was simply not strong enough to contain all the feels and I might burst into a cascade of rainbows at any moment. I had all the emotions of the bride that cannot wait to get the the altar and claim her prize.

In the dream, I am about to marry “the one who got away.” It isn’t nearly as important *who* I visualized as this dream man, let’s just say that my subconscious supplied an image of such a man.  More important was that in this dream, for a shining few moments, in the dappled sunshine of a garden wedding, with flowers in full bloom, in perfect weather, with gaily dressed friends and family gathered around, ribbons and twinkling and all the trappings of my “perfect” wedding day, I was the happiest woman on earth and I felt beautiful. I explained to giggling, congratulatory women around me that this marriage was a dream come true; that I could hardly believe that *this* wonderful man was choosing *me* to spend his life with; that I was so honored to become his wife. Just to look at him was to melt me into puddles of bliss. He was a gorgeous, dapper, stallion of a man in a tuxedo…let’s just say that when my subconscious creates a groom, it does a stellar job. 🙂

The moment of triumph: we are at the altar, hand in hand, and the officiant asks if there is anyone there who objects to our union. Like the stab of a knife, a woman I don’t know breaks desperately into the scene, throws herself before us and proclaims her undying devotion for my groom, and asks him to marry her instead because “he was the one that got away and she’s always regretted losing him.”  He rushes to her, accepts her proposal, then turns to me and says he’s sorry but he just has to marry her instead because he’s always secretly loved her more than life itself.

However, he wants me to stay and be their bridesmaid for the ceremony. You know, take the consolation prize and just step off to the side. Be a dear, and don’t bother me further, if you don’t mind. kthxbai

All of a sudden I am wearing the most hideous pea-green bridesmaid’s dress you can imagine, have an 80’s hairdo (blarg,) and am forced to stand witness, right there on the spot, MY LOVER, marrying this other woman, at my altar stone, at my wedding, in front of my friends and family, and I stand there dying inside. Frozen solid in pain and horror, the light within me turning to darkness and seeping like the chill grip of death from the inside out until my body is a husk in green satin, the roses in my hands dry and crumble. The dream shifts such that I’m viewing the joy of their wedding unfold, through the husk of this dead body and I’m just a small, invisible consciousness peeking out, a ghost on the sidelines.

That is when I was once again aware of my bed, and the cat beside me, and my son softly breathing as the dawn light crept into the window. But in that dreamy middle-realm before fully waking, I felt the deep mourning and humiliation wracking through my body. All the loss of my love and pride crashed through me and the crush was paralyzing.  The jealousy, the want, the horror of rejection, and I wanted the pain to stop….just to let go and be gone completely from the flesh that was a prison.

Gods, I remember that feeling. There was a time in my separation from my ex-husband that this is how I woke up every morning. This state of abject self-loathing, shunted to the side like last week’s garbage; this was my life. I barely survived that time period: I almost managed to will myself to non-existence, but that was a very long time ago.

After this dream ended, it took a few minutes to realize it wasn’t real, and I could rise into the monotony of the new day, in my new house, in my new life.  There were children to wake, and breakfasts to be served, carpools to be run, and work to be done…alone. <sigh>

I know it was a dream, but I’m a witch, and the dream times are the message board, the chat-room of the Gods and guides who work with me.  The subconscious knows, and through dreams, my conscious mind is given marching orders for what it needs to do.  For me, there are rarely *just* dreams. This one was the shadow of the past, casting long and piercing into the now.

And the now, marked the 7th day since a man I loved, a man I was supposed to be hand-fasted to a Beltane a few weeks ago, asked that we cut off ties completely for the time being, because we live several hours apart from each other, and we have no way of changing that…for possibly a decade. There were very logical, very healthy reasons for this request, and I agreed that it was for the highest good of all involved.  Seriously, never before has there been a more amicable and spiritually mature parting of the ways.  By the Grace of the Goddess Aphrodite, to whom I am dedicated this turning, I was able to let go of my lover, hoping that if he was truly mine, someday he’d return to me, when we were both ready and the time was right. There is no denying that I have healing work to do on myself; there are things still tender and unresolved since my divorce.  Sometimes I think I’ve laid these issues to rest, but then they rise from the grave like zombies, and eat my brains. I just can’t get these images out of my mind.

The divine works through me in such a way that I follow these bread crumbs through the dark forest of consciousness. This particular crumb is rotten, the bitter pill. Yet again, the thorny path rises up to meet me. There is work to be done.

Great Goddess, guide me! So I pull out my trusty tarot deck and let her speak to me.

May 23, 2014What brought me to this moment: 4 of swords, truce
The key to the situation in the present: Knight of cups
The message moving forward: XV The Devil.

Synopsis: I may have laid down my weapons, stopped the battle, and formed a truce, my worries were conquered, I knew calm and clarity over the situation, but truce is not always a peace…I can’t suppress feelings about the situation. The key to the situation is my knight of cups….funny, that has been the signifier card for my lover since the beginning of our relationship…I always called him my Knight of Cups. He was my surrender to beloved ones and reaching the highest of emotional planes and to have a spiritual relationship fully integrated within my community. Moving forward, I can’t let others (or myself) demonize me; I am the master of my life. Use this vital, masculine form of creative energy and individuality, in whatever way I need right now to meet my needs–to follow my bliss. This is also the card of Capricorn, and I think of how agile the goat is in scaling what seems to be impassible mountains. They are some determined and hard-headed creatures!  This speaks very deeply to me.

With gratitude for the journey…

Blessed be.