Thursday, 25 June 2015

PDU - Yule

Lucious, ripe Firethorn

I always struggle with Yule at this time of year. It’s not really cold enough for me to think ‘winter is here’ – not to go all GoT but winter is coming, just not yet. It’s very cool, yes, and being that I’m a soft touch, I have a water bottle, flannie sheets and a very warm doona but still, I think winter won’t show until July proper. I’m looking forward to it, I like the cold, I like to curl up with a hot water bottle and a book. I like an excuse to have those few extra minutes in bed simply because it is too cold to get up and the cocoon I’m in is so cozy.

Winter is also interesting where I live; it’s unpredictable from year to year. Some years we get high rainfall, other times biting cold, even the very occasional bit of snow (which tends to melt before it hits the ground). We have dewy mornings, frost – some years ‘black frost’ which tends to kill everything that is sensitive. Last year we had a black frost, it temporarily killed off my Jacaranda (a surprise) yet the things you think would die off didn’t. But no two winters are ever the same. This year we’ve had relatively decent rainfall, no frost as yet and the cold is obvious in the morning, but hit mid morning it’s brisk but not cold. The coolness doesn’t start setting in til about 3pm or so, depending on the day. Some days we have lovely warm sun at 4pm – our verandah is a good place to be sitting when it comes. Even our Oak was late to the party; she’s still hanging on to some of her autumn leaves.

I didn’t celebrate Yule on the 21st of June, I likely won’t be celebrating yet for quite some time, I would rather have a meaningful connection with it and have it make sense than to enact a hollow acknowledgement to it. I will know when it’s time because the Cailleach will be breathing down my neck, her icy breath letting me know that it is now time to pay tribute to Winter, to see the season in it’s full glory and revel in the highs and lows that come with this season. Winter is my quiet time, my reflection time, my planning time and my indoor herbal madness time. I have plans for this season and I’m looking forward to enacting some of them.

Like cheese-making.


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

PDU - The Element of Earth

For my PDU entry this fortnight, I thought I would share some of the photos from my trip to the cemetery. It might seem like an odd choice but a cemetery to me is almost the epitomy of Earth, for when we pass it is where we return to - it is what we become a part of. The great heartbeat of Mother Earth and those who lie upon and within her, serving her in some capacity as stewards, keepers and creators.









 "Eternal slumber long and deep
Returning to the Mother
As the Earth spins and spins
Life is life is death is again
Lying below, lying above
The trees whisper, taking root
Part of all and part of none
Changing, evolving, growing
Into a spirit of Earth"

© Stacey Carroll

Monday, 1 June 2015

PDU - Underworld

The dirt beneath my fingers, the earth calls to me. I lay within her bosom and I hear her heartbeat.

A breeze touches my mind
And lends to me its strength
As I walk into the darkness
Of a forest hidden in shadow

I feel the earth tremble beneath
Its power so potent and strong
The energy rises inside me
To meet the challenge to come

I walk further into the darkness
To find the cavernous heart 
Nature is my spirit twin
My heart beats to its rhythm.

For the magic held within these woods
Is older than the oldest
Primal and ancient it calls
I heed, I join, I know.

Embraced within her natural womb
The darkness is no longer frightening
As I meld my mind and spirit
I feel its call to me, its pull.

To be within this earthy womb
Is to feel like coming home
To know that within this place
I will find who I am.”

© Stacey Carroll

This poem speaks to me, it came from a hidden part of my mind long ago (I may have even published it here on the blog before), it reminds me of the path we all walk, from the surface, to the Underworld and back again. It’s perhaps not the most traditional imagining of the Underworld but for me, as I walk the hedge witch path, the Underworld is not necessarily the domain of Hades or some dark, mysterious place but another realm on a journey, another place to seek knowledge, to walk with spirits and talk with those who know of things that I do not.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Autumn Flowers

It might be getting cold now but the flowers are coming out now, showing their beautiful faces to the small flashes of sun. Small flashes of colour here and there amongst the burgeoning green. 

Stevia

Carnation

Elder

Feverfew

Climbing Geranium

Lavender

Bulbs

Blue Potato Bush

Rose

Rose

Snapdragon

Monday, 11 May 2015

PDU - Life and Death/Ancestors/Samhain


I’m very late on the PDU posts so I’ve decided to combine the last three topics together. I also think they all correspond to one another in one form or another. I’m not even sure what to write really, maybe I’ll just type and see what comes out.

Life & Death

Interestingly, I don’t fear death. It’s an inevitable part of life, perhaps it’s the consequence of living or maybe the reward. Could it be the journey’s end when one has accomplished everything or the full stop to a life of regret? I fear the manner in which I might die but I think that’s natural, overall it’s not something I give a lot of daily thought to, why borrow trouble? Perhaps being Pagan I tend not to worry overly much about it because this realm, this life is only one life in the many that we have, will have or have had. I’m a student of the mysteries, a wild mystic who sees beyond what is now. I’m also studying Past Life Therapy (among so many other things) so it does lend itself to a thought process of there being more beyond what is currently this life. I believe in the ancestral soul, which means that our memories, our past lives, perhaps even the very core of who we are is passed down in the blood, we are so much more than just the sum of our parts, we are also parts of those who walked before us and we carry the soul knowledge of them and also the soul knowledge of those who will come after us. In some ways we are immortal, because whether it is past, present or future, we all live on in some form. So essentially, I would say my final thoughts of life and death is that we live, we die, we love, we share, we cry, we hurt, we grow and we eventually return to the darkness before moving to wherever it is our souls move on to beginning the process of existence once again in whatever form that happens to be.

Ancestors

I don’t really do ancestor worship, it’s not something I as yet feel comfortable doing because my ancestors are just names on a page – my family is not the closest. What do I think when I think of my ancestors? Mystery – yet I also know some of them better than I know my own blood. I’m descended from convicts and immigrants. My maternal line has a rather interesting lot of characters in it. Four of them were all First Fleeters - two former slaves – one African American (thought to be very musical, especially on the harmonica and tambourine), the other either West Indian or Carribean – although some also claim Africa American as well. One found guilty of ‘felonious assault and putting him (the victim) in corporal fear of danger of his life’ (English) and finally the future (English) husband of the felonious assaulter who was transported for ‘felonious stealing’ – he was originally intended for America but due to ‘mutinous behaviour’ on board the ship was put to trial again and sent to Australia. The two Johns (both slaves, a.k.a John R and John M) must have become quite good friends as John R’s daughter married John M. There was also the dear George Bowerman who was eventually hung for highway robbery. John M's daughter Mary married George's son George Jnr and their daughter married Mary's sister's son John (guessing the options for spouses must have been quite limited - and John was a popular name). There is plenty of Irish and English in my maternal line, explains why I burn like a tomato instead of tan, my lucky brother on the other hand must have inherited the darker genes from the Johns, as well as my Spanish ancestor – he tans not burns.

On my paternal side was a Spaniard who immigrated to Tasmania, his daughter had 3 husbands – I’m descended from husband number #2 – a little mystery surrounding one William Carroll (very generic Irish name), some say he came to Australia escaping the law in Ireland. We’ll never know because no one knows anything much about him. My paternal line, outside of that, is mostly English with a rather large Cornwall contingent. I’ve investigated a little bit, I know names, places, dates but I don’t particularly get the essence of any of my ancestors, so perhaps one day, I’ll come to think about working with them but not right now.

Samhain

Not particularly working with the Beloved Dead or Ancestors, my Samhain is generally reserved for seasonable observance and nothing more. It’s an indicator on the path of Autumn, the time when the shades of trees begin to change and the weather cools. I don’t even recognise it as a time when the veil is thinnest because being a hedge witch, you tend to always be one side of the veil or the other. Perhaps that will change; I’m still learning which seasonal observances I truly wish to honour. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Poetry

As a teenager I used to write a lot of poetry, it was your typical angst ridden melodrama but I like to think I matured with age. I've not written a lot in the interim except during my writing diploma (which I finished a couple of years ago now) but I've recently began taking it up again. I thought I might share some from time to time here on the blog, I'm not sure how often it'll be because I don't write as much (poetry or otherwise) as I used to, I'm slowly trying to re-familiarise myself with the love of writing that I had once, it's a process. So in the interim, here is a little ditty I wrote for my 'Personification in Poetry' assignment a few years ago.

A Besom’s Life

The Besom sat above the door
Feeling bored she wanted more
As she saw her Witch walk in
She felt it time to begin

She wobbled from the hanging hook
A lot of clever falling it took
She landed in front of her Witch
And wished for a little hitch

Her witch stroked her with much joy
She felt as though she was no longer a toy
Brushed, cleaned and scented well
Miss Besom felt very swell

She felt absolute delight
When it was time to take flight
Soaring above the lovely skies
“What fun, what joy” she sighs 

Saturday, 11 April 2015

PDU – Pet Peeves

I’m late again with my PDU – it’s shocking, as has been my attempts at writing more on my blogs. I’ve been quite bad of late but I’m going to try a bit harder to get more done. Maybe that’s my pet peeve – my inability to be really motivated to achieve anything on account of being easily distracted by other things. Mouthful too. Pet Peeves are an interesting topic because whatever you say, you’re likely to offend. Whether it’s a particular habit, opinion, action or group, some one is going to get annoyed. Recently I read an article that had gone viral again and it led me to thinking about one of my favourite pet peeves. Article is here.

There is a forum on Facebook that I am a part of tailored toward Wiccans, Witches and Pagans, all paths and viewpoints are welcome however it seems there is a certain set that has the loudest voice. An example was a young woman had cast a love spell on a person and had some questions about it – whether you agree or disagree is irrelevant in my mind, the spell had been cast and she had some questions. I participated in offering an opinion that was driven toward advice on the situation she described – as did many other witches. Yet there seemed to be a pervasive need from a certain few to lecture on the morality of the spell and shove their rhetoric in everyone’s faces; there was so much ‘threefold’ or ‘harm none’ or even references to ‘black magic’ that it became ridiculous (actually that is another one of my pet peeves – that damn colour shading of magic, magic is magic. It isn’t white, grey, black or otherwise, it simply is).

Within those lectures was not actually any advice whatsoever but simply a pushing of one’s personal belief onto this poor girl. Now did I agree with her casting a person-specific love spell? Not particularly, I don’t think it’s a good idea for a multitude of reasons (some because I am a crime show obsessed person) but it wasn’t my place to push that belief at her. She’d done what she believed was what she needed to, it hadn’t gone wrong so her spell, her business. Quite a few of us got fed up in the end and lost it at those who were not contributing anything constructive, I think the poor girl regretted asking by the end of it because so many people were ‘karma, wrong, threefold, harm none, free will, bad, bad, bad’. It peeves me in group situations when it is not understood that not all people practice the same so we don’t hold ourselves to the same laws or credes that they do. You won’t interfere with free will, bind, hex, curse or otherwise – fine, more power to you. Doesn’t mean others won’t and those others don’t appreciate being the recipient of your rabid rhetoric as though your opinion and way is the right and only one. I understand your right to defend your point of view, but when defense becomes preaching and lecturing, you need to stop. You need to be quiet for a minute and listen to the others who are saying ‘we don’t believe what you believe, we don’t want to hear about what you believe constantly, we don’t want to be told we’re wrong simply because we practice differently’ – although to be fair most of the time my thoughts are not that polite. I don’t participate much in online groups anymore for this reason; it becomes too destructive and petty instead of informative and community-minded. The ideal of sharing ideas, workings and experiences devolves into a ‘right way, wrong way’ drama and it’s really pointless at the end of the day. Pointless and a waste of time.

So anyway, there’s my pet peeve – actually another one is people who use the term hedge witch who are not actually a hedge witch. One day I was looking something up and came across some one selling herbal products with a blog/business name with hedge witch in it. Looking through their site I saw they were clearly not a witch at all but chose the title for the cutesy, catchy factor. I’m not sure they actually knew what one was – I’ve written an article on Hedge Witchcraft for the winter issue of Australian Pagan Magazine, I hope people like it, I’m sure some may not necessarily agree with my assessment of what hedge craft is but for the most part I think it will be well received. Well, there you have it, my PDU entry, hopefully my next one will be written in a timely fashion!

So, anyone want to share their own pet peeves?