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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Receiving my Wings

When a Native Canadian man once told me that my animal totem was the butterfly I was initially disappointed. Being short in stature already and having a tiny frame I thought that he was mistaken. He must not have fully connected to spirit and his medicine and was subconsciously  associating teeny me with the teeny butterfly. I knew that inside was ferocity, passion, fearlessness, I was certain I was a cat, a tiger, a spider, something feminine, dark, mysterious and sexy. When I was given my Native name : Little Soaring Butterfly, I decided it was time to get to know my totem and to open up to the idea that perhaps this medicine man had seen something that I had missed.

 
In my study of the butterfly there were a few things that I resonated with from the beginning, one was the constant transformation that those who have or work with the butterfly totem experience in their lives. Being a Scorpio who is constantly digging, unearthing, discarding and rebuilding, my life has felt like a continuous construction site undergoing transformation after transformation. Another aspect that I resonated with was the blessings that the butterfly totem leaves behind her as she moves, with each flutter of her wings the butterfly sheds iridescent scales, leaving a path of light wherever she goes. This concept inspired me and was in alignment with the path of Grace that I follow, the idea that I need not do anything but rather that I can be the presence of spirit and bless the world that I encounter provided I remain in alignment with the Goddess within was one that I endeavoured to live up to already, the visual of leaving scales of light behind drew the butterfly spirit deep into my very own heart. When I learnt that a beautiful butterfly is poisonous to the predators that catch and eat it I knew that I had indeed received the correct totem. A tiny, cute, transformative being that sheds light but is deadly if attacked, I could get on board with that.
 
The transformations that have occurred throughout my life have been of varying degrees with varying affects on my life, intensive eye surgeries as a child created massive transformation in my resilience and maturation process. Loosing jobs and having newer and better opportunities show up at just the moment I needed it have strengthened my faith in Grace. From getting sober to breaking up with my boyfriend, varying degrees, varying results, constant shifts and transformative growth have been a mainstay of my life.
 
The butterfly totem had been showing up in my life as transformative experiences and opportunities to grow and to evolve, however the butterfly herself is a completely transformed being, she doesn't just go through an ordeal as a caterpillar and become a stronger or wiser caterpillar, she actually becomes a completely different being. I hadn't had that experience, I had had some close experiences where it seemed as though who I was was morphed and about to become a new being, yet in actuality I was becoming a more whole and integrated aspect of myself. I didn't desire to become a new being because on this journey I had learnt to love myself exactly as I was. I expected that I would continue on through my life having different transformative experiences and expanding and growing because of them and was content to except that as the way of life.
 
The butterfly totem it seems had a different plan in mind for me and I was destined to not only receive her medicine through life experiences, I was called to leave behind my life as a caterpillar and to emerge as a new being. Much to my surprise it was in becoming a Mother that my total transformation occurred, I went from being a Maiden caterpillar and emerged as a Mother butterfly. When I was pregnant I didn't know that I was in my cocoon and I had no idea that becoming a Mother would be the event that morphed me into a new being. Before this transformation occurred  if I had contemplated an event that could bring me into this all encompassing rebirth I would have guessed at many more deep or seemingly spiritual events that would have done it. I would have thought that it would be one of my many meditations, a moment in a 12 step meeting, during a Goddess circle that I was leading or on a solstice or a miraculous event that spontaneously dawned upon me while out in nature, I probably would have guessed anything besides becoming a Mom. Doing what millions of women do every day and giving birth to a baby would not have been the spectacular event that this Priestess would envision as her moment of becoming and yet here I sit in a new state and as a new being 15 months later.
 
I hadn't recognized the total transmutation into another being that I had become at first, I was mired down in diapers, breast milk and indescribable awe and intense hormones. In fact it wasn't until I returned to my hometown and my parents house that I knew, not only had my daughter been born anew, I too was a new being. 
 
My hometown is a tiny, sleepy city that was wrought with bad memories, dense energy and family systems that seemed so toxic I was certain I would stay away forever, never did I imagine that I would ever be present for very long with my precious Maiden. 
 
As I walked through my hometown the spots that held memories of deep pain and shame and a reality that today is like a distant nightmare were simple plots of land, free from any energetic ties that once held me. I walked a free woman any place in the city. At home when family members behaved in ways that hooked me in the past I found myself responding as any outsider would, with interest a bit of mirth and walking away when the dynamics began to feel tense. I wasn't tied to how they acted anymore, I didn't internalize it as a part of me or as being caused by me.
 
I am free. I see my family as beautifully human and real people, they are no longer demons that have cut me and damaged a part of me irrevocably, they are raw and real and forgiven. I watch my daughter fall in love with them, she senses their blood and is at home in her tribe when she is around them. I watch as they carefully apply principles that they know we uphold in our home, so nervous that one wrong move will take me and baby packing, across the country, far from home, where I've been for the past 10 years now. I love them and I honour them and I stay with them when they are human, I no longer punish them for their past as I have been freed from mine and pray that I never hold another person in bondage to theirs.
 
I in no way believe that having a baby just busted open the doors to freedom, gave me butterfly wings and erased all of the pain from my past. I know that the intensive work that the path that I have walked has laid the foundation for the opportunity to fly, I just had no idea that Motherhood would be the catalyst to receiving my butterfly wings.
 
As a Priestess the cycles that we dance through as a woman moves me deeply, I am a firm believer that a woman needs not ever birth a child in order to move into the Mother stage of her life. I chose with the magic of the Goddess and the commitment of my Beloved to become a Mother, for me childbirth was the door to the Mother phase of my life. However I've always been connected to my Mother self, even as a young Maiden I was called to care for and to nurture, my artist births babies through my creations, I have been Mothering my entire life. The switch into Mother as the primary role came with the birth of my daughter. If it is not childbirth that is your doorway to entering the Mother stage of life it will be something that moves you deeply, opens your heart wide open and lights your life up in ways that you have never seen before. When you enter your Mother stage of life you will be compelled to nurture, extend, care for and Mother all. This may not be your transformative moment though, it was mine but each of us have a unique blueprint to our soul's walk along this spiral path of the Earth~bound experience.
 
As the majority of the Western world celebrates the coming in of a new year and releases the old I encourage us all to walk towards transforming who we are into new beings, free beings, beings that are released from the bondage of who it is that we were taught to be. 
 
I encourage those of us walking a conscious path to explore the animal totems and to find the one that resonates with who you are, to take stock of your life up until this point, honouring the dark nights of the soul, revelling in the bright lightness of the highs that you have sailed upon and being open to the revelation of what your next step is to be. As we all transform and are released we raise the vibration that is being held on Mother Gaia, we make the way lighter and easier for all of those in this reality. Many, many souls are being called to leave this realm and many souls are re~entering again, let us raise the potential for global transformation to occur through our own personal work and surrendered walking into 2015.
 
I don't know what your transforming moment will be. In hindsight I am not surprised that becoming a Mother was mine, it was the moment that I began to be an expanded self, I was no longer an extension of my ancestry, I became a link in a chain that extended beyond myself and this has caused me to be more giving and altruistic than I ever could have been based upon morals and values alone. As I tend the life that came through me, that will continue on after me, that carries the blood line of my Grandmothers and myself I begin to serve in a microcosmic way the way that I am called to be to the entire macrocosm. For me it truly does begin at home and my personal goal is to go out into the macrocosm treating each being as if they are the child that I have birthed, for beneath it all we are all innocent children walking the most integral path that we can in this given moment. I endeavour to be the Mother Goddess to her children upon this Earth and give eternal thanks to my daughters soul, she chose me to birth her and has given me my wings. 
 
I will soar into the next year and hope to have many sisters and brothers by my side.
 
Many blessings from a fairly new Butterfly to you and yours.
 
Grace Be With You,
Priestess of Grace,
Candise Soaring Butterfly.
 
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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
A Personal Reflection on the New Year

On this last day of the year, many of us will reflect on what has transpired in these months prior. We leave behind many things as we joyously embrace a “clean slate”.  Every year on this date I review and analyze the failures and successes of the year and make plans to bring new light and a fresh perspective into the upcoming year. 

For me personally, the year began as a year of challenge and unavoidable growth from what loomed large in expectation. So it is fitting that the end of this year marks another phase of challenge and growth, my second Saturn return.  A Saturn return occurs when the planet transits or moves in direct alignment with the astrological sign and degree it was in when you were born. The importance of this event lies in the opportunity to steer course in an entirely different direction as you restructure your life. I began the 1st Cycle of my Second Saturn Return this month. I have diligently done the work to prepare for this and the result has been productive at many levels and the Dark Mother has been watchful and vigilant in her demands. 

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Reciprocal Resolutions: Incorporating the Sacred Principle of "Ayni" When Looking to 2015

There is the giving of gifts and the receiving of gifts. There is the counting of how many who gave what and the reminders to say "thank you". Within the roots of holiday gift giving I find a lovely example of the Andean people of Peru's belief in "ayni" or sacred reciprocity. Ayni is the idea of the sacred balance of giving and receiving as the foundation of all life.

Different than the concept of fairness, ayni is not a dry calculation to balance the scales, but a living example of the Divine in action in our world. Gift giving, at its core, is the same. When we give gifts for the holidays there are certain social mores honored. We strive to choose gifts that will please the other person and show them our love. No matter what the content is of that next box we open, we plan to act delighted upon its unveiling because we care for the feelings of the person who gave it to us. Being a thoughtful giver is as important as being a gracious receiver.

In Peru, sacred reciprocity is not dependent on a holiday; it goes on in every moment. Every breath is considered a sacred exchange, taking in the One and letting out the One.

"Of the five principles, ayni is the single most important concept of the Andean way... it means the interchange of lovingkindness, knowledge, and the fruits of one’s labor between individuals, between humans and the environment, and between humans and nature spirits. Reciprocity implies that one’s labor is shared: I will help you today, and tomorrow you might help me. The purpose of reciprocity is the maintenance of life.

Ayni also implies respect for life... When we return the good that comes to us and show respect without judging the giver or what is received, it becomes benevolence in its highest form." - from The Shaman's Well

The act of holiday gift giving is meant to be a sacred act that is a demonstration of love and a celebration of the gifts of life. Ultimately, it is meant to be a ceremony revering the Divine no matter what religion or spirituality you practice. If that is always the case is another discussion and a hot debate in our avid consumerist society. However, for the sake of this line of inquiry, I am simply talking about the traditions at the heart of holiday gift giving.

When the holidays are over the cycle of giving ends in many of our lives. Any other times of year when we give gifts, the exchange is lop-sided or spread out over time. It is your friend's birthday. You give her a gift. She does not give you one until your birthday months later. The sacred act of giving and receiving at once is tucked away until next winter.

Already, by New Year's Day we have set aside reciprocity. We start out with our resolutions stating what we want for the year. It may be what we want of ourselves, what we'd like the universe to provide for us or what we'd like for the universe. Without taking a survey, I would say most resolutions are in the form of wishes which have us looking outward, waiting to receive.

What will we give this year?

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New Year, New You: An Experiment in Magical Radical Transformation

My muse and I have an on-going disagreement of sorts.  Well.  I do.  She is indifferent as usual to my thoughts and feelings.  She clomps into my bedroom, Manolos in hand, Aviation martinis from the Lambs Club and a burrito from Taco Morelos on her breath.

 
She (kicks the bed):  Hey.  Get up.
 
 
Me: What?  It’s bedtime and we’re not talking friends –
 
 
She: Whatever.  I have an idea.
 
 
Me: Your ideas are disorderly and often inconvenient.  I’m going back to bed.
 
 
She: No, you’re not.  I’m going to keep poking you in your brain pan until you listen.  Are you listening now?  Are you listening now?  Are you listening now?  Are you listening now?  Are you listening now?  Are you listening –
 
 
Me: JESUS CHRIST, I HATE YOU!
 
 
She: So it goes like this:
 
 
So, you’re supposed to be, like, magicians, occultists, witches in the woods and the kitchen and on the soccer field, right?  Workers of wonder.  Dream weavers.  People who get shit done.  Isn’t this the year to make your own luck?  You’re feeling especially awful with the nights that never end and run over by the holidaze. You can’t drink endless amounts joie forever before needing a meeting.  So now’s the f*cking time.  
 
Don’t wait until that stupid glitter ball drops and you’re already making drunk and/or sentimental mistakes, start now.  Start now when it’s hardest.  Start now when you feel so weighed down with emotions better left to glittery and not so glittery vampires and when you feel like you could sleep forever.  Now is the time you need to wake up.  Get up, get up!  Don’t miss this moment.  
 
Create magics great and small, mundane and mystical.  Find everything you’ve been looking for, mysteries revealed in every form of divination and song and when you f*ck it up, when you are too tired to try, bring each other up from bloodied knees to get back up smiling.  You are all made of the cosmos and you have stardust in your veins.  Do something about it.
 
 
Here is what you’ll do, Tiny Charge of Mine.  You’ll write prompts.  You’ll explore.  You’ll fall down.  Sometimes you’ll lay there awhile, finding things under rocks that you never wanted to know.  They’ll pull you back, using yarn, glue, cajoling and stern words.  You’ll keep sewing yourself into who you’ll want to be and you’ll tell them, sometimes too much, because that’s your way and what’s needed.  You’ll find how far you can really fly when you’ve made wings to carry you and be breathless from your accomplishments.  
 
 
Here is what they’ll do.  Form a community of tealight hearths and skyscraper high bonfires.  They’ll whisper their stories, spirials of success and failure.  You’ll learn from each other, make each other laugh, piss each other off.  You’ll get things done together and alone.  You’ll be afraid together, so knees up.    
 
Ready?  Let's go.
 
The entirety of my free New Year, New You: An Experiment in Magical Radical Self Transformation course can be found here, with a prompt for every week for 23 weeks.  I suggest doing them in order, starting at week 1 ("Making Way").  You can do the course in a self-guided manner, either privately journaling your process or publicly, whichever you prefer.  If you want me to see that you're doing it, link each prompt on your blog and I will get the pingback about your entry and I can find it and read about it.  
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

For all its liturgical and cultural importance, Samhain has yet to inspire much popular music.

So when we end our big public Samhain ritual by joining hands and announcing, “Let's finish with the Samhain song that everybody knows,” you'll see eyebrows go up all around the circle.

When you first start in, you'll get a nice laugh, and then folks will belt it out like they mean it. After all, what's Samhain for, if not for Old Long Ago?

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b2ap3_thumbnail_SamhainMini.jpgFree event!
 
Fellow Star-dusted Traveler,
 
Let us be together in this sacred time.
 
Join me in a Faerie Samhain ritual, Tuesday Oct 28, 2014, from 3 to 4:00 PM EST.
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