Greeting the Porcupine

So, I’ve been really trying to continue working with the energies of Imbolc as the Wheel transitions toward Ostara.  It’s not been easy.  I’ve managed to land my Self in a whirligig of over-commitment, burn out, super stress and anxiety, a dwindling quality of self-care, and some misaligned vertebrae causing some pretty gnarly pain and insomnia.  Not-so-good times.  However, amid all this chaos, I am still doing my very best to look for the joy in the journey, the lesson to be learned or core challenge to be tackled.

I’ve been making some changes – I went full blond for the first time ever; taking steps toward even bigger changes – I’m really ramping up my search for a van to purchase that I can call home (more on that soon); and am working hard to treat my Self to some very necessary healing arts – getting massages, facials, and working with my crystals and gemstones.

This morning, after a particularly challenging week, I slept as late as I wanted.  (No alarm clock!!)  Then I rolled out of bed and onto the yoga mat where I gently urged my body toward expansion with some delicious languid stretching and moving.  I followed that with a re-reading of the description of Porcupine from my medicine cards book, and a Tarot reading with my trusty Mythic Tarot deck.  Both were insightful, informative and encouraging.

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You may recall that my totem animal for this period between Imbolc and Ostara is the Porcupine.  (Go here if you missed the last post where I wrote about this.)  As usual, this time when I read the description, my focus was directed differently than last time I read it.  This time I was drawn more to the discussion of Porcupine as a symbol of trust and faith – in people, in the Universe, in ‘the process’.  Here’s a passage I found especially poignant this morning:

“Porcupine has many special qualities, and a very powerful medicine:  the power of faith and trust.  The power of faith contains within it the ability to move mountains.  The power of trust in life involves trusting that the Great Spirit has a divine plan.  Your task is to find the pathway that is most beneficial for you and that uses your greatest talents to further the plan.  Trust can open doorways to the creation of space.  The space thus created allows others to open their hearts to you and to share their gifts of love, joy and companionship.”

I have been starting to understand, recently, just how much I am in need of Porcupine medicine.  I realize that I have lost a great deal of my ability to trust and have faith in this world.  This is especially true with people.  Being such a sensitive and highly empathic person, I am very easily deeply hurt by others, often without the others even knowing.  I’ve created a habit of recoiling from others as a result, always feeling distrustful of getting too close to anyone.  This is a sad state of affairs, in general, but, especially so, considering that I am a person who craves close companionship with others.  So, in essence, my lack of trust and faith is keeping me from one of the desires I hold most dear.

However!  Just this week, I experienced a little Porcupine medicine in action.  I’ve been (in my own trepidatious way) cultivating a friendship with a new colleague.  She’s been expressing concern over my health complications and waning energy.  (I’ve been feeling pretty defeated.)  Earlier this week, when things were getting kind of unbearable with my neck/head pain and the continual insomnia was really starting to effect my ability to pretend everything’s okay, she came to me at work bearing a beautiful picture she painted and some herbal tea.  The painting was inscribed with such kind words that I cried when I read them.  For the first time in a very long time someone actually saw me – not the face of me, but the whole me – and embraced me, honored me, and cared for me.  I am most often the one taking care of those around me.  I am most often the one making sure everyone else is alright.  I am not only not used to someone doing this for me, but I make it difficult for those who try.  Not intentionally, of course, but because I am not good with allowing myself to be vulnerable.  (I’ve become the wounded Porcupine – using my quills for protection.)  This simple gift may seem small and commonplace to some of you reading this, but, to me, it was a paramount gesture of generosity that really set to work the restoration of my trust and faith in not only the world, but in my place in it.    So … Porcupine is weaving her magick in my life in more profound ways than I expected.  And I am super grateful.  (Gift-bearer, if you are reading this, thank you, again.)

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So, change is happening.  Magick is afoot.  And the Universe is supporting me in the process.  I hope that you are getting the Universal support you need, too.  I’m trusting that Life is unfolding as it should for the greater good.  And I am ready to unfold with it.

xoxo,

melanie

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Experiments in … Spirituality: Imbolc 2016

This year I celebrated Imbolc a couple days early. This was mostly because I wanted to do my celebrating on the weekend when I wouldn’t feel too rushed or too tired. It was a really nice, relaxing, reviving experience. And … in good resolution form … I documented it in my new grimoire.

Actually, if you want to get really technical, I started my celebrations last weekend during the snow storm. (So strange that last weekend was a snow storm and today, a week later, is 70 degrees and sunny.) Anyway, last weekend, I began spring cleaning my home. I did a whole lotta cleanin’ during that snow storm, but I still have quite a lot of work left. I imagine it will happen piecemeal as I get time over the next couple weeks. Though, to be fair, I only have the lesser, annoying things left on my list, so maybe (hopefully!) I can get it all taken care of by this weekend.

The more formal part of my celebration was a little less dirty and exhausting. I began with a purification bath. I made a special blend of bath salts just for the occasion with Cypress and Lemon essential oils. Cypress has the power of helping one to release old and stagnant energies and patterns to make way for new, more currently aligned life magick. Lemon is symbolic of the sun and is very uplifting and invigorating. Both are great for Imbolc, a time of new beginnings and of the promise of Spring and the growing power of the Sun.

While still in the bath, I used a guided meditation to help attune me to my creative energies and the potential for creation that resides within my Self and deep within the Earth.

After cleansing body, mind and spirit, I created some sacred space for my Self and my celebration.

My first ritual was a candle dedication ceremony in which I engraved and anointed a white candle. I held the candle in both hands while verbally dedicating my Self to a year and a day of celebrating the Wheel of the Year and following my magickal, blissful Life Path with openness, awareness and optimism. Then I burned the candle and meditated on the flame a little more while directing my intentions to it. I will continue to burn the candle throughout the season until it is spent. This will act as both a reminder for me to continue to honor my promise to my Self, and as a light of inspiration when I’m feeling stuck.

I followed the candle ceremony with a simple divination practice. I turned to my trusty Medicine Cards deck with the question: Who will guide me from Imbolc through Ostara? I shuffled the cards, cut the deck, and pulled one card. It was Porcupine. Porcupine is the 12th card in the deck. Its keyword is Innocence. It evokes the power of faith and trust. These are some of the notes I jotted down about Porcupine medicine from the book and from my own understanding:

– In numerology, the number 12 becomes the number 3 (1+2=3). The number 3 is closely aligned with creative forces as well as decision-making.
– Porcupine quills are only used when trust has been broken.
– The medicine in this card is that of relief from seriousness + severity.
– Open your heart to those things that gave you joy as a child!
-“How can you, as your adult-Self, comfort you, the child within, and teach your inner child how to have faith and trust again?”
– “Your task is to find the pathway that is most beneficial for you, and that uses your greatest talents to further the plan [that Great Spirit has for you].”

So, I’ll be spending some time cultivating joy and innocence in the coming days. I’m liking the sound of that already! It also goes along well with the advice that my acupuncturist friend gave me during our session a few weeks ago. She told me that more creative expression and artistic endeavors would be good to help balance my liver chi. All that synchronicity, and that’s really what my New Year’s Experiments are all about anyway: creating more magick in my life. And what is magick but the ability to view the world through the lenses of innocence and joy?

Imbolc officially happens tokay. Even though I’ve already had my formal celebration, I will take a few moments tonight to meditate on Brigid, the patroness goddess of the holiday.

How will you celebrate the waning winter? The promise of Spring? The quickening of Mama Earth’s womb? Whatever you choose, I hope it’s a joyful occasion for you!

Xoxo,
Melanie

Photos from my trip to Tennessee.

Here are some photos from the trip I wrote about in the last entry.  Go here if you missed it, and would like to read it now.  Enjoy!

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The historic district of Cookeville.  Historic districts are always my favorite parts of town.  They are charming and lovely nuclei retaining the integrity of their origins within the encroachment of box-store-overdevelopment.
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Fun graffiti in Cookeville.

The All Natural Farmers Market was small, but wonderful.  There were gorgeous arrangements of organic produce on offer, handmade crafts, breads, and other goods as well as heaters stationed intermittently to keep shoppers warm and comfortable.  I spent some time chatting with the proprietress of Waters Farm.  They had a lovely rustic booth display of some really beautiful produce.  If you ever find yourself in or near Cookeville, TN, I strongly suggest you get your hands on some of this farm’s goods, and your arse to this market!

While the photos do NOT do this place justice, these are a few from the Rock Island State Park trail that we hiked.  This is such an amazing Park, with so much life and vitality coursing through it.  I strongly recommend you plan a trip here immediately.

More fun on the trail …

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Scenes from an acupuncture treatment.