Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wishing You....






Beloved Family and Friends,

I bet you think I'm going to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Blessed Yule or Joyous Kwanzaa or a Happy Festivus!  I'm sure by now, whatever tradition you celebrate, you've already been blessed and wished upon more times than you can count. Yet, I do...wish you all of those things. 

But, just as I stepped out into the cool, crisp night air I looked up to see a beautiful shining crescent moon and thought, "Such a miracle".

So here is my wish...

On this night, I wish you all a miracle.

So mote it be!


Tracy

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dear Santa...




Dear Santa,

I think I can safely say, I've been good all year. Yes, I do realize that "good" is a subjective term. And I must confess, I've certainly stretched the term beyond all reasonable definition in the past.

I'm sure there are those that would say, as a practicing Witch, I have not been good at all! That's ok, I have a suggestion as to where they might strategically place their Christmas trees.

I haven't compiled a Christmas list so don't worry, this isn't going to take very much of your time. There is very little I actually want. I believe that I received my greatest gift back in September with my husband's benign diagnosis and successful surgery. So, I guess you're wondering, Dear Santa, "Why is she writing? Surely she knows I have enough to do already! Pesky Witch!"

I know your busy, so I'll get right to the point. This year, Dear Santa, has seen too many people that I love and those loved by others, being diagnosed with cancer. Yes, I know, you don't have to be bad or good all year to get cancer. It isn't very selective. If someone isn't touched by it personally, certainly, someone you know has been. It sucks! Ooooops, sorry Santa! Outside voice!

I know what you're thinking, Santa. "Oh No! The Witch better not even think of asking for a cure for cancer!"

Well Santa, here's the way I see it. If you can get into that sleigh every year, driven by 8 "flying" reindeer, squeeze your ass down countless chimneys, spreading tidings of comfort and joy, you better friggin' believe I'm asking!

Oh yeah, I went there!

Hey Santa, cut me a break, ok? Perhaps you can check in with whomever gave those poor reindeer the power to schlep your big ass around the World for years! Nice trick, but I'm not easily impressed! So, Dear Santa, see what you can do, ok? There are a lot of people counting on you!

Thanks for your anticipated cooperation!


Tracy a.k.a. "That Pesky Witch"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Shadow of the Mother


Photo courtesy of Tracy Frasche


You are here...




Yet, hidden



Foot falls beside me



Upon the rich Earth



Filling my senses

Dark Mother



Tis' your presence



That guides me...

Tracy Frasche - 12-19-09

Friday, December 18, 2009

What Lies Within?





Deep, deep
Search your soul..
Is there really depth there?
Or a surface so fragile
So easily broken

Shallow, shallow
Waters of your ego
Behind a mask
Drenched with tears
Hides a frightened child

Tread, Tread
Currents carry you
To places you seek strength
Merely an Illusion
Wasted time
What you seek, lies within

Tracy Frasche ~ 12/18/09

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Her Royal Catness!

I haz to takez the picture, Mom! ~ Lady Ember


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Not To Be...Forgotten

Merry Meet Once Again, Family and Friends!

So, I must admit, that I've been laying back quite a bit lately.  What I mean is, I've been more focused on those things that are most important and enjoyable.  Spending time with my family and friends, reading, practicing, dancing, catching up on Facebook.  I have found myself taking time just being thankful for my blessings and to take life a little less seriously.  This is not necessarily a bad thing at all, as it has given me the opportunity to reconnect with the those people and parts of myself that are really important.

I was walking by my altar before work yesterday morning and realized that there was one thing I had forgotten to do.  It had been quite a while since I'd honored my patroness, Hecate.  I usually make it a point of leaving fresh flowers, wine or mead and candles as a sign of my devotion to her.  The last wine I'd left had almost run dry and I made a mental note to remedy this as soon as possible.

I have personally found that Hecate is not the type of Deity that one works with casually.  She doesn't seem to appreciate an "as needed" relationship.  I don't merely work with Hecate, I am oathbound by blood to her.  My own. 

Last night after dinner, as I sat by the fireplace reading, I remembered my promise to her from that morning.  I stopped what I was doing and headed upstairs to retrieve my altar chalice.  On the way however, I was distracted by a conversation with my son and afterward couldn't remember, for the life of me, what it was that I had gotten up to do!  Don't ya just hate that!!!  "What was it I was doing?", I asked myself.  I knew it was something important, but I couldn't remember what.  Then it hit me!  "Holy crap!", feeling guilty that I'd forgotten.  "She is not going to be happy!"

I rushed upstairs to get the chalice and then went out onto our deck to spill what remained of the wine back to the Earth.  "A Gift for a Gift".  Just as I leaned over the deck, I caught the leg of my pants on the branch of a climbing wild rose bush.  The sharp thorn pierced the fabric, tearing my flesh!  My first words (no they didn't begin with "Mother") were, "Yeah, I get it!", acknowledging that there is and always will be, a price to pay for her Wisdom, and that she generously shares her blessings with those who honor her.

I went back into the house and looked down to see a rich crimson stain was now seeping through my pant leg. I lifted the fabric to survey the damage and found that blood was now trickling down my leg and onto my freshly scrubbed kitchen floor!!! I guessed I'd probably survive and rather than let this distract me from the task at hand, I began filling the chalice with red wine.  I whispered my words of heartfelt gratitude, held the cup against my bare skin, then watched as my own life's blood mixed with my offering to the Dark Mother.  "A Gift for a Gift".

In Darkness, Light!



Tracy

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Now Ya See Em'



Merry Meet and Almost Yuletide Greetings Family and Friends!

Ok, so yesterday  I'd left a little incense offering for the Elemental Guardians.  

As I watched the smoke swirling into interesting little patterns, I decided to see if I could catch them on camera.  I took a few shots, but wasn't really impressed with any of them.  As I browsed the images, I decided to enlarge the frames to see if enhancing them would reveal anything interesting.  I think...possibly...it may have.

See if you can spot the little faces in the swirls of smoke.  There are two near the top of the photo, one above the other.  One seems to be glancing downward, the other staring straight ahead.

I showed the photo to Ray, my husband and creative consultant and he was able to pick the first one out right away.  "Yep", he said, "they really are in there aren't they". 

So let me know what you think or if...



In Darkness, Light!!!


Tracy

Monday, November 23, 2009

One Soul's Journey....

Merry Meet Family and Friends!

So, this Saturday past, I went into New York City for all day intensive workshop called, The Shaman's Way: Healing the Light Body.  As many of you know, I practice Jikiden Reiki and I'm always looking for new and interesting modalities to add to my "medicine bag". 

I recently rediscovered a wonderful venue in New York's "Open Center".  They have a plethora of amazing workshops and speakers on the most interesting topics! The workshop I attended was given by Dr. Albert Villoldo.  I had read Dr. Villoldo's books, "Shaman, Healer, Sage" and "The Four Winds", so when I learned that he was teaching there, I just knew I couldn't miss it.

Just before we were about to leave, I heard Ray yelling something from the top of the staircase.  The only thing I could make out was, "look out the window".  "Which window?", I wondered!  I took a wild guess and glanced out through the sliding glass doors to our deck and there, staring back at me, was the most breathtakingly majestic Red Tailed Hawk!  She was sitting on the railing in the exact place that I leave my offerings to the Elemental spirits!   As I stood there transfixed, it dawned on me, "Holy crap, where's my camera?!".  When I moved, she flew away.

I found it amazing that with four dogs just inside the door, she would have chosen to land where she had!  She was beautiful and it was such a splendid way to begin the day.

My husband was driving me to the lecture.  I don't like to drive, but more accurately, I hate driving in NYC.  I find being a passenger in the car only slightly more tolerable, but no less stressful.  It's like being in a video game where your goal is to navigate through a maze of streets, while trying to escape the demonic cab drivers that are trying to kill you!

The parking is a nightmare in itself, so when we arrived in the area of the Open Center, Ray suggested I get out and walk the block or so, so I wouldn't be late for the workshop.   I wasn't thrilled, but I knew he was right.  I hopped out of the car on East 30th Street and began looking for the building. 

I got to the first intersection, wondering if I would maneuver the crosswalk without getting killed, when I noticed a man standing next to me on the corner.  He repeatedly glanced at me as we stood there waiting for the light to change.  This made me a tad uncomfortable.  It is a known trait of the New Yorker never to make eye contact. The light changed and I quickly ran across the street, pretending that I was in a rush. 

As I walked along, trying to catch a number on one of the buildings, I realized that the signs were reading West and I needed to be going East.  Ok, now I'm lost in Manhattan. I began making mental notes to myself to be really pissed at Ray if I ever saw him again! 

I stopped walking long enough to get my bearings, when the same man that was on the corner came walking in my direction.  He seemed to be looking for something as well, so I said, "excuse me, I've not sure if I'm going the right way.  Can you tell me which way is East 30th street.  He told me he thought it was in the other direction and asked me where I was trying to go.  "Uh oh", I thought, do I really want to tell him?  "The Open Center", I replied.  To which he responded, "I'm going there too".   Is he really going there or is he just telling me he is to get me to follow him?", I wondered.  "Ok, now you're just being friggin" paranoid", I thought to myself.  He really didn't give me any reason to be mistrustful and I was in no position to refuse his help.  We began, two strangers, walking together in the opposite direction.

 He asked if I was attending a lecture there and I told him I was.  He asked me which one and when I told him that it was Dr. Villoldo's workshop and he said, "I'm taking that workshop too!"  Again, I began to feel uneasy.  But, a short time later,  when we arrived at the Open Center, I saw him disappear into the room where the lecture was being held.  What were the chances of meeting the one stranger in New York City that was going to the same place that I was! Phew!

Now that I was safely inside, I called Ray to tell him that I'd arrived and to sarcastically thank him for sending me off in the wrong direction.  During the call, I specifically took note that my cellphone was fully charged. I told Ray I would call him to yell at him when we got a break and I settled in to enjoy the lecture. 

After a few hours, we got a lunch break.  As I ventured out onto the sunny streets of Manhattan, I pulled out my phone to call Ray.  It was then I realized, "Holy Crap!!!" My cellphone was...DEAD!!!  How could that be?!?!  Now, I had no way to contact Ray when the lecture was over!!  I toyed with the idea of asking someone if I could use their cellphone.  "This is New York!", I thought. No one is going to just "lend" a complete stranger their phone!!  Now, I'm friggin' stranded in New York City, with no phone!  At that moment, I recalled hearing a news report about how it's virtually impossible to find a payphone in New York City anymore!  Fuck! Fuckity, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck!!!

Ok, I needed to think this through rationally.  I decided I'd grab some lunch while I figured out what to do.  I took out my bag and began rummaging around looking for the money that Ray said he'd put in my purse that morning, but all I could find was four dollars! No big deal, I have my bank card.   I made a mental note to kill Ray later.  I walked around the corner and I found a little cafe and right next to it,  a convenience store with an ATM.  Ok, this was good!   As I walked from the convenience store I spotted...wait, did my eyes deceive me?  Yes, a payphone!  I swear I heard a choir of Angels!  But, I had no spare change.  "Not a problem", I thought.  I'll eat lunch, get some change and call Ray. 

After lunch, I went up to the counter where two very pleasant young men were working and asked if I could possibly get change.  I explained that I was in from Jersey for the day and that my cellphone died.  I needed money for the payphone.  Before I could say more,  one of the guys said, "here, would you like to use my cellphone?".  My first, thought..."I am in New York, right?". 

Ok, so now I managed to find an ATM, eat lunch, get change, yell at Ray and get back to the lecture in time for the second half!  I felt a sense of relief and pride in my own resourcefulness!  I spotted the gentleman who'd help me find my way and silently mouthed the words, "thank you" from across the room.

Dr. Villoldo's lecture was fascinating and included a demonstration on  "Soul Retrieval".  It is believed that if we endure a particularly traumatic event before or during birth or early childhood, a part of our soul may separate in order to protect itself.  This can lead us to experience repetitive harmful behaviors, relationships, accidents,  illnesses, that will continue until we can heal the trauma, so that this part of the soul can once again be reunited with the whole.   

Following the demonstration, we were taught how to "journey" in a meditative state to retrieve the lost portion of the soul.  We were instructed to choose someone in the room that we'd never met and we would simultaneously do a soul retrieval journey for each other.

As I glanced around the room, my eyes met those of an attractive woman, who I'd noticed several times during the lecture.  She immediately smiled at me and walked over.  We were instructed to share little more than pleasantries, no real information.  Her name was Francesca and one of the first things I noticed was a ring she was wearing.  It was a large round silver ring embossed with a pentacle.  I took her hand to look closer at the ring.  "Wiccan?", I asked.  "La Strega", she replied.  Strega is short for Stregheria. Italian Witchcraft.   So, now the second stranger I meet this day is another Witch!  How cool is that!

We journeyed for each other which we both found a strange, yet very interesting exercise.  Afterwards, she said, "Tracy, I do this professionally. I work here at the Open Center."  "I have to tell you what I saw", she said.

She told me that she saw me in the center of a circle, dressed in robes, surrounded by dark beings that were pointing arrows at me!  Then she said, that she didn't feel that they intended to harm me (hence the arrows), but instead, that they were frightened of me.  She said that they were "afraid of your power".  Then she said, "You know, you were a Sorceress in a past life".  It was then I pulled my pentacle out of my sweater and showed it to her.  She smiled and nodded her head knowingly.  We talked a while longer and she told me that I needed to continue to pursue my interest in shamanism and asked me to call her so that we could talk more.  She was extremely interesting and I am looking forward getting to know her better!

I have to say, it was certainly a day filled with strange and wonderful occurrences.

During the soul retrievals, we are asked to look for our totem animal.  When I journeyed for myself, I couldn't seem to connect with any one animal.  Then I remembered that Red Tailed Hawk that had visited me that morning and I was struck by the overwhelming feeling that perhaps, I had already found it.

This morning, as I stepped outside to leave my daily offerings, I realized how cold it had gotten during the night.  All of the plants on my deck that had long since withered and were covered with frosty morning dew.  Just then, something caught my eye.  Sitting there amongst the dry, brittle and withered plants, in the exact spot where the Red Tailed Hawk had landed, a single perfect little pansy had bloomed! 


What a splendid way to begin the day!

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wine and...Spirits?

Merry Meet and Happy Wednesday Family and Friends!

So, every morning (ok, I'm lying), almost every morning, I leave a few simple offerings in the form of wine or mead, incense and flowers to the Elemental Guardians.  Elemental Guardians are primal in nature and will behave in whatever manner they see fit with little regard to those of us who seek a harmonious relationship with them.  They can often be mischievous and wrathful and considering the damage we have inflicted upon their home, who wouldn't be?!

So, I leave these offerings as a sign of mutual respect and in hopes that it will avoid them attempting to burn or blow down my house, mudslides or avalanches (not likely in New Jersey, but ya never can be too careful) or slipping on dog pee in the middle of the night!  Note to the Undines: Not Funny!!!!

I must confess, I was beginning to wonder if the Elemental Spirits really gave a rat's ass that I was making the effort, but then two mornings ago, as I was about to go outside to leave my daily offerings, I noticed something strange in the cup of mead I'd left the day before.   There seemed to be a small, bright light shining from inside the cup!  At first, I thought I was imagining things. Surely, my eyes were playing tricks on me!

I stepped outside thinking that perhaps this light was the reflection of the sun rising over the house, but that wasn't it.  The day was cloudy and overcast. I looked around to see if perhaps the light was coming from inside our house or perhaps from our neighbor's porchlight, but that wasn't it either!  As I got closer to the glass, the light faded, but when I returned to the house, it reappeared! I grabbed my camera, fully expecting that when I attempted to get a picture of this strange phenomenon it would disappear, but it didn't!



I really don't know what to make of it, but perhaps it was the Elementals way of saying "Thanks" and "Sorry about the dog pee!

In Darkness, Light!!!



Tracy

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pimpin' My Blog!

Merry Meet Family and Friends!

I have been trying forever to update the appearance of my blog and it's been so friggin' frustrating. I love the look of some of my ff's (Favorite Followers) blogs and wondered how I could achieve a similar appearance. Aside from the creativity of their writers, their blogs say so much about them! I visited some of the sites that have blog templates and they are absolutely beautiful! Yet, each time I try to incorporate them into my own, I lose my favorite thing! My Favorite Followers!!!!

I was reading my friend Dennis's blog this morning :::cough, cough::: "SpottedWolfWisdom" and absolutely loved the idea of incorporating my photography into my blog. Being technically challenged, I was just about to write Dennis to find out how to do it, when much to my delight, I discovered it for myself!

I took this photo a day or two ago of this beautiful rose with the Goddess's image in the background! I thought it expressed the theme for my blog perfectly! It's still a work in progress, but I would appreciate your comments and suggestions!

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Monday, November 9, 2009

When the Student is Ready...

"the teacher appears"

Merry Meet and Good Evening Family and Friends!

A few nights ago, I had a strange dream, as most dreams often are. I dreamt there was a HUGE Praying Mantis walking across my living room floor. I said it was strange!! But wait..this was no ordinary Praying Mantis. I'm sure most Praying Mantises don't consider themselves ordinary at all, but this friends, was a Praying Mantis of a different color! Most Praying Mantises are green or brown. Not mine. No, mine was an 8 inch long, fluorescent violet and pink Praying Mantis!

I couldn't begin to imagine where this dream came from! I haven't been watching TV of late. No National Geographics or Animal Planet. I don't recall any recent lively discussions about Praying Mantises and I haven't seen one since I was a kid.

In this dream, I remembered thinking that it was very important that I catch the Praying Mantis and put it outside where it would be safe from harm. I grabbed a paper napkin hoping it would climb on, as I've done countless times with other insects that have wandered in uninvited. Despite my efforts, it climbed out of my hand and disappeared somewhere in...my...house! :::cringe:::

This dream haunted me throughout the day. Each time it would slip back into the recesses of my memory, I'd find myself revisiting this freaky little mystical creature! I couldn't help but feel that there was something I needed to learn from it, so I did what any self-respecting Witch would do..I "Googled" Praying Mantis!

What I found in the following description was surprisingly relevant in more ways than I could imagine.

"The Power of Stillness"

The Praying Mantis teaches how to still the outer mind and go within ourselves.

Through this, we can draw upon greater power --
physical, emotional, mental or spiritual.

That stillness can be simple contemplation or meditation or even dreaming.

Healers often have Praying Mantis totems -- for they use
their inner stillness to focus their healing power.

The greatest lesson this totem teaches is patience.
Learning to wait for the right moment before striking.

As some of you know, my husband is recovering from fairly extensive surgery. It has been a stressful time when my focus has been drawn away from my inner stillness and into his healing. Despite the fact that I have found little time to quiet my mind, it has also been a time of stunning manifestaton and psychic awareness.

As I sat on the deck today, meditating and enjoying the beautiful 70 degree weather, I realized it would probably be one of the last we'll see like it this year..and that's ok. For the first time, I'm actually looking forward to Winter's stillness and the return to a journey within. Who knows, perhaps in the Spring...I'll emerge with all the wisdom the Praying Mantis was sent to teach me!

In Darkess, Light!



Tracy


Praying Mantis-Power of Stillness courtesy of http://www.linsdomain.com/totems/pages/prayingmantis.htm

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Of Magick and Madness....

Merry Meet Family and Friends!

As Pagans, we face an odd sort of dilemma. Some people think we're crazier than a bag of rats! And for some of us, that might actually be true...or not. Therein lies the dilemma!

Here's what I mean. If a Pagan friend tells me that a decision or behavior was guided by their personal Deity, in all likelihood, I would accept it at face value. Pagan or not, I find nothing at all unusual about someone saying that they were influenced by Divine Intervention. However, there's a huge difference between hearing from our Gods as flashes of intuition or inspiration and you know, actually HEARING from them! If the communication with one's Deities comes in the form of actual auditory or visual manifestations....Houston, we may have a problem!

I will tell you a true story of a Pagan gentleman, an intelligent, accomplished professional, who began to complain that his "Spirit Guides" were becoming bothersome to him. His partner, did exactly what I would have done, accepted this as part of his charm and spiritual personality. He would often say things like, "this rock told me it wants to live on my altar" or "that tree is feeling sad". Ok, well, nothing wrong there. Shamans communicate with nature elements all the time. And I mean seriously, how many times has a piece of chocolate looked you square in the face and said, "Eat Me".

Unfortunately, as his behavior became increasingly bizarre, it became apparent that his communications with the Gods were actually hallucinations and he was in the midst of psychotic break! For even those closest to him, the reaction was the same, "Who knew?!".

Obviously, this kind of thing is not exclusive to Pagans. I just believe that some behaviors are much easier to overlook amongst Pagans because we are so accepting of diversity in beliefs, even within our own community. What the outside world might consider bizarre behavior, is perfectly reasonable to us. Rituals, Magick, casting spells, sharp and pointy ceremonial knives, are all things that are common to our practice.

I recently read the symptoms of a diagnosed schizophrenic who would see signs in everything in nature. Ok, well, I look for signs and omens all the time. The difference, I believe, is not that we perceive signs, but how profoundly those signs impact on our daily lives. I might see a smiley face on a broken candle, but I am also able to distinguish that it only "looks" like a smiley face. It may also just be a broken candle that is dripping wax. I prefer to look at it as a sign, but am also open to all the more mundane possibilities. The number "13", black cats, walking under ladders, broken mirrors? These are all "signs" that are commonly accepted as ominous in our culture and yet, to perceive them as such is not considered a symptom of mental instability, but merely superstition.

As occultists, our sanity is often open to the scrutiny of those who are plagued by fear and misconceptions about what we actually do. I'm sure that those very same individuals would be more than a little surprised to learn that, in some Wiccan circles (no pun intended), having undergone psychological counseling is actually a requirement. Health of mind, body and spirit is a fundamental part of what makes us Pagans.

Our minds are capable of manifesting miracles or plunging us into the depths of despair. I believe that the healthiest among us are those who have mastered the skill of walking that fine line between both Worlds.


In Darkness, Light!!


Tracy













Saturday, October 31, 2009

Things That Crack Me Up!

Merry Meet Again, Family and Friends!

So, if you read my last entry, then you know that when I'd lit the black pillar candle on my altar in honor of my ancestors, the glass surrounding the candle cracked.

My husband, will almost always look for a plausible explanation for the unexplainable! It's very frustrating!

"Tracy, the temperature in the room where the candle was kept the was cold, so when you lit the candle, the heat made the glass expand and it cracked", he said. Ok, well, the room is a bit chiller than the rest of the house, but we really haven't had any cold weather yet. Still what he said made sense and left me slightly disappointed, doubting whether something supernatural had occurred at all.

I left the candles burning on my altar and later in the morning, as I passed by, I noticed that the cracked candle looked strange, as if the glass itself was beginning to melt! "That's not possible", I thought! It's a candle flame, not a friggin' blow torch!!! When I knelt down to take a closer look, I noticed that the wax was beginning to seep through the cracks in the glass and had formed what resembled...


a pair of lips with a knowing little smirk!

I called Ray and the kids to come look and they agreed! Later, as we were making lunch, I told Ray, "You know, that was my sister, right?" Without a moment of hesitation, he said, "Yeah, I know. She always did have a twisted sense of humor." So much for reasonable explanations!

Happy Halloween!


Tracy

The Doorway

Photo courtesy of Tracy Frasche

The Doorway the 11:11

This can presently be perceived

as a crack between two worlds.

It is like a bridge

which has the inherent potential

of linking together

two very different spirals of energy.

As we unite together as One,

bringing together our fragments of the key,

we not only create the key,

but we make visible the Doorway.

Thus this bridge functions

as an invisible door

or a doorway into the Invisible realm.

The 11:11 is the bridge

To an entirely different spiral of evolution.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Merry Meet Family and Friends!

Have I mentioned that this is my all time favorite holiday?

Today, October 31st, doesn't only represent the traditional celebration of Halloween, but one of the eight major Wiccan Sabbats. Today, we celebrate, Samhain.

Samhain lore tells us that this is the time when the veil between the living and the dead is most thin. This morning, as I do every Samhain morning, I set up an altar to my ancestors, those loved one's who have crossed the veil.

It's a simple altar. I use a black altar cloth embossed with a silver pentacle, two black glass enclosed pillar candles, Samhain incense and photos of my ancestors and pets who have crossed.

This morning, I had an epiphany! I just knew I needed to light the altar candles at exactly 11:11 a.m. I know there are many interpretations of those numbers. I'm not sure which of those I agree with, I just knew that it was important that I acknowledge my beloved dead at exactly that time.

I patiently watched the clock and then lit both black pillars at exactly the right moment. A second or two into this process as I struggled with a particularly uncooperative incense, I heard a resounding snap coming from one of the candles. If you know anything about or have used 7 day pillar candles, they can be left burning, for ya know, 7 days, so obviously they are made to withstand the heat of the flame. At closer inspection of the candle, I realized that the glass enclosing the pillar had cracked! The incense, which I've used before, then began filling the room with the most beautifully ethereal swirls of smoke I've ever seen.

Today, we honor those loved ones who have gone before us, remembering that only our love for them is strong enough to pierce the veil.

Blessed Samhain!


Tracy

P.S. After this writing, I did some further research on the numbers 11:11 and found the verse listed above, along with this very interesting accompanying website:

http://globalpsychics.com/enlightening-you/numerology/1111.shtml

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5th Annual NJ Witches' Ball



Devyn Joseph Michael Barat and I will be officiating as High Priest and High Priestess for this ritual.

Please click on the Image for full poster!

5TH ANNUAL NJ WITCHES' BALL
November 6th, 8PM - 12 Midnight
Halloween Masquerade Dinner and Dance Fundraiser To Benefit PAWS of Montclair
Presented by Mystic Spirit Metaphysical Shoppe and Everything Akasha
At the Church Street Kitchen, 12 Church Street, Montclair, NJ

$50 includes Samhain ritual, DJ music, appetizers, buffet dinner, dessert, coffee, beer and wine.
Samhain ritual performed by The Northern NJ Pagan Fellowship.
Tarot reading $20 for 15 minutes.
Tricky Tray (Raffle tickets $3 each or 5 for $10)
You don't have to dress up but it is highly recommended. Costume prizes.
Must be 21 to drink.

November 6th is the actual cross quarter day of Samhain this year.

Tickets must be bought in advance at Mystic Spirit
Buy your tickets now!

Last year we raised $2,115 to benefit PAWS Animal Shelter.
Check out the pictures from our 4th Annual Witches Ball

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

True Tales For The Season of the Veil...

Merry Meet and Most Blessed Samhain Family and Friends!

Recently, I saw the movie, "Paranormal Activity" and while I won't spoil the fun for those who have yet to see it, I can't say I found it, as promised, the "scariest movie of the decade". Actually, I haven't seen a really scary movie in a very, very long time. Or perhaps I'm just...paranormally challenged.

I will explain by saying that I lived in our family home from birth, until I married at 26 years of age. I can tell you, with absolute honesty, that there was never a moment in those 26 years when I felt comfortable being there alone. I will also admit, that to this day, I can not sleep without some kind of light coming into the bedroom.

I would often listen with a mixture of rapt terror and morbid fascination as my family shared tales of "unexplained phenomenon". My sister took great pleasure, as older siblings often do, in describing the vivid details of her own ghostly encounters. Even more frightening however, was when I'd go to my parents hoping to have them dismiss her stories as fabrication, I'd be met with uncomfortable silences or vague mumblings about there being "no such thing as ghosts". Yet, their own discomfort was palpable. Still, I did my best to convince myself that my sister was just trying to scare me. After all, I'd never seen or experienced any of these things for myself. Yet.

I recall my sister telling me a story of waking in the middle of the night to see a woman, dressed in white, passing by foot of her bed, carrying a candle.

I remember my Aunt telling us of waking to see her sister kneeling at her bedside praying, only to realize a moment later, that her sister was sleeping soundly in her own bed.

One of my first experiences came while I was walking past my parent's bedroom and heard a growling coming from beneath their bed. It was one of the rare occasions that I can remember not having any pets and no one else was in the room at the time. I convinced myself that I was...hearing things.

I would occasionally sense a shadowy presence in the corner just outside my bedroom door. When I told my mother, instead of reassuring me that I was, Oh, I don't know, losing my mind, she hung a small crucifix in the spot where I felt the presence. I never saw it again.

One evening, long after I'd gone to bed, I awoke to hear my sister calling my name. She had just been showering, so I couldn't imagine why she'd be calling. A moment later we were all jolted from our beds by a blood curdling scream. My father, who was very modest around his daughters, was standing in the middle of the kitchen in his boxers. My mother and I rushed in to find my terrified sister, a whiter shade of pale. She said that when she attempted to leave the bathroom, she couldn't open the door. She said she'd felt someone (or something) holding it from the other side. She thought it was me! It wasn't.

I remember one night during a particularly violent thunderstorm, we lost power. Well, with one small exception. The radio we had in the bedroom turned itself on and was blaring at full volume. While my mother went to get a flashlight, I fumbled my way through the darkness to find the radio and turn it off. I found the radio, but despite pressing the button, it continued to play. I felt for the power cord and was about to pull it from the wall when I realized...ooops, it wasn't plugged in.

On another occasion, my Mother had been washing her hair in the bathroom sink when she felt someone tap her on the back. "Gina?", she called, presuming it was her grand-daughter. No reply. Her hair was covered in lather, so she was unable to open her eyes without getting shampoo in them. A moment later, she felt another tap, this time a little more insistent. "What do you want, Gina?", she said, as she felt for around for a towel. Again, no response. This time, the tap was even harder and she spun around, water streaming down her face, only to find that she was alone in the room. She said it was one of the few times she was truly frightened.

The memory of my sister's "bathroom incident" had become a distant one. Then late one evening, after I'd finished getting ready for bed, I attempted to leave the bathroom, only to find that the door wouldn't open. Suspecting that I had just forgotten to unlock it, I turned latch, but the door knob wouldn't turn. I looked down at the lock to realize that the door had already been unlocked! I stood there, my body paralyzed with the shock of white hot fear. I couldn't move, I couldn't breath. When I finally found the courage, I grabbed the doorknob and pushed the door open as hard as I could! I went sailing out into the kitchen and found myself alone. Afterwards, I left the door slightly ajar any time I was by myself in the house.

Shortly before we married and I moved from my childhood home, I woke up in the middle of the night to get a drink. There was door just outside my bedroom which led to the stairwell to my Aunts' apartment on the floor below. It was about 3 a.m. I sleepily shuffled past by the door and as I did, I heard three short, but very distinct...knocks. "Who would be knocking at this hour?", I wondered. Surely it wasn't one of the Aunts. They never knocked! A few steps from the door was my parent's bedroom, with a window that looked out onto the stairwell. I cautiously peered around the corner into their room, praying that I would see a light shining through the window and one of the Aunts standing in the hallway. It was pitch black. There was no way anyone (or at least, ya know, anyone human) could find their way up those stairs in the darkness, so there was no friggin' way I was going to look out the window to see who or what, was knocking! I hauled my ass back to my room so fast I swear my feet never touched the floor, bolting the lock on the door as I flew by!

Despite the supernatural drama, leaving the home I grew up in proved to be bittersweet. After we married, Ray and I rented an apartment on the first floor of an older two family home. It was a lovely place with gleaming hardwood floors and a beautiful working fireplace. The rent was surprisingly affordable and we were thrilled to have found our "perfect" first home.

One night after we'd moved in, I awoke to hear him calling my name from another room. Before I could respond, he came back to bed asking, "what were you doing up?" "What was he talking about", I wondered. I hadn't been up, I told him. He said that he thought he'd heard me in the kitchen. By the following morning, the incident had been forgotten.

A short time later, I woke up during the night to use the bathroom, when I heard what sounded like all the kitchen cabinets and drawers being opened. I suspected it was Ray rummaging for chocolate. "Ray", I called. The house was suddenly quiet. "Ray", I called again. I walked out of the bathroom, to find the cabinets were closed, the kitchen was dark and eerily silent and Ray, was just where I'd left him, sound asleep.

A month or so after we'd moved in, our landlady came by to see how we were enjoying our new home. I casually mentioned what had happened, curious to see how she'd react. I saw her eyes soften and a small, sad smile came over her face. It was then she told us how we came to rent our lovely little place.

Up until recently, the apartment had been occupied by her father, who had just passed away.

As I share these tales, I can still sense the ghosts of my childhood that linger in the dark corners of my mind. Let it suffice to say that I'll be leaving the lights on tonight and the bathroom door slightly ajar.

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Playing With Matches...

"Do not lay your personal power at the feet of another".

Merry Meet and Happy Morning Family and Friends!

So, occasionally I will cross reference my rune castings with an online divination tool called Graven Image Oracle. It's an interesting site in which you meditate on a card before receiving the answer to your query. And while I take all online forms of divination with a grain of salt, I like this one because inputting your question is not required, which means the outcome isn't being generated by a specific question, word or phase.

Very often, I am warned of laying my personal power at the feet of another. What does that mean exactly?

I think there are many ways that this might be interpreted. Something as simple as agreeing with someone to a avoid conflict, not standing up for yourself or allowing someone to pressure you into doing something out of sense of obligation are some things that come to mind. In my humble opinion, any time you knowingly allow yourself to be taken advantage of, for whatever reason and to varying degrees, you are laying your personal power at the feet of another. That doesn't necessarily mean that there is always malice afoot. At times, we lay our personal power aside simply for the sake of friendship.

There are however, some people who will knowingly try to tap into your personal power. They believe they know you well enough to have insight or control over the outcome of a particular situation, especially if they tend to benefit from that outcome. Not so much.

"With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend".

There is a simple way to avoid this...it's called, common sense. People who are intentionally looking to take advantage of your good nature or personal power will almost always slip up. Why? Because no matter how adept they consider themselves to be, dependent upon the degree of their personal interest in the outcome, without realizing it, their own impatience will often give them away. Alternatively, at times, they are so convinced of their abilities that they simply fail to keep in mind one of the basic tenets of Witchery...to "Keep Silent".

"Light of eye and soft of touch, speak ye little, listen much"

These are not just nice pieces of poetic literature, folks. They are from the Rede of the Wiccae and probably one of the first things that we learn as Wiccans. Certainly, there are some that would argue that as a result of how much Wicca has evolved over the past 60 years, the Rede has outgrown it's usefulness. Not so much. One of the first things we learn as children is not to play with matches. We may have since learned the way to safely handle the flame, but if we become careless or arrogant, convincing ourselves that we can predict it's reaction, getting burned becomes a reality. Seriously.

I must confess that, at times, I have failed miserably at adhering to the lessons of the Rede of the Wiccae. As the Oracle suggests, I have, indeed, knowingly lain my personal power at the feet of others. That said, I'm a work in progress and like a child playing with matches, I've learned never to under estimate the "personal power" of the flame.

Played with any matches lately?

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Not Just A Little Something Good...

Merry Meet and Brightest Blessings Friends and Family!

Firstly, I beg your patience, because there is no way this to abbreviate this tale.

That said, I need to begin by making a confession. I had begun to take for granted my many, many blessings. Sorrows, past and present and the usual stress and unpleasantries of daily life began swirling like an ill wind around me, vying for a place amongst all the wonderful things that have happened. I am ashamed to admit that, at times, I allowed these things to overshadow my perception of what was really important.

On a beautiful Friday morning, two weeks ago, I sat gazing out the window and prayed silently, "We need something good to happen in our lives. Not just a little something good, but really spectacularly fucking good". Without realizing it, in that moment, I had broken one of the most basic rules of magickal practice, "be specific".

The following afternoon, my husband had planned to attend a Hindu dance recital being performed by one of his students. He was really excited about it. I however, felt unusually uneasy about him going. It was raining quite hard, it was a fairly long drive and my son would be traveling with him. We argued about it for most of the morning.

A few minutes before they were to leave, my husband announced, "I think I'm going to the hospital". "What's wrong?", I asked. I had been having vague premonitions about this very scenario for months, which I foolishly decided to chalk up to anxiety. I already knew his answer. "I'm having chest pain", he replied. "Get in the car, NOW!", I demanded, and drove 50 mph the block and a half to the hospital

Now, this is exactly the kind of thing my husband would have just blown off as being insignificant, so the fact that he was even telling me at all meant that he was truly alarmed. Once at the hospital however, it was quickly determined that he wasn't having a heart attack, but needed to be monitored for several hours and have lab work repeated just to be certain.

During that time, the ER shifts changed and we were assigned a new physician. "Hi, I'm Dr. Meyers, I'll be taking over your care", he announced. So, you have abdominal pain?" My husband and I quickly exchanged worried glances. "No", my husband replied, "I'm having chest pain". "Did he NOT read the fucking chart?", I wondered. "Oh yeah, chest pain", he replied. I felt nauseous.

The new doctor reiterated the plan of action. They would be repeating the blood work and if all was normal, we would be discharged. The previous tests were all good, so we were hopeful. Then he took things a step further and ordered a chest x-ray and CAT scan of the chest. My husband is a former smoker and given that his mother died of lung cancer 30 years after she had quit smoking, my anxiety level just rose to something akin to "Red" on the Homeland Security Terrorism Threat Advisory Scale.

After all was said and done, Dr. Meyers came in to report, "Well, your CAT scan was normal and if the blood checks out, we'll be sending you home". To say the very least, we were relieved. Things however, were about to become...surreal.

He returned a short time later with a team of hospital personnel who began unhooking my husband from the cardiac monitor. "Well, your blood work looks good, he said. "We're sending you home, but...you have a mass in your lung"

Wait! What did he just say? We both shot him a look of shocked disbelief! He did not just say "a mass in your lung!", did he? Hadn't he just said the CAT scan was normal!? There had to be a mistake!! Was he even looking at the right patient's CAT scan?! No, he was wrong! He HAD to be WRONG!!! I felt as if I might pass out!

"Are you sure?", I demanded. "Is it a mass or a nodule?", I asked. "No, it's a mass", he said. You know, there was a time when I considered myself unshockable, but what he said next was something even I couldn't fathom coming from the lips of a physician. "Listen, the mass is not going to kill him right away", he said. "The important thing is having him seen by a cardiologist first thing on Monday morning, then follow up with a Pulmonologist". "Maybe they'll just "watch" it for six months". At that point, I actually considered the possibility that this person had to be a psychiatric patient who had wandered off the ward, taken the elevator to the ER, grabbed a white coat and was pretending to be a doctor!

Afterwards, I'm pretty sure we were discharged. At least, I sort of remembered a disembodied walk down the corridor of the ER. I stopped our nurse on the way out. "How big is the mass?", I asked. 4.6 centimeters, was her reply. "Good Luck", she said. Her tone was more one of sympathy than sincerity. I shook and gagged on the ride home. Neither of us slept much that night.

I woke up on Sunday morning with the words, "lung tumor' echoing in my mind like some kind of twisted mantra. Alone, I paced the house...not knowing what to do first. My mind played a continuous stream of the worst possible scenarios. After 30 years in the field of medicine, several lung cancer diagnoses amongst family and friends, I can tell you that none of these were beyond the scope of possibility. I felt desperate to know what we were dealing with, yet terrified to possess that knowledge.

I was so distraught that I was physically ill. I desperately needed to calm down enough to take control of both my emotions and the situation.

I admit it, I'm no fucking hero. I called my boss to ask for a prescription for Valium. I told him that my husband was diagnosed with a lung mass and despite him speaking to the ER physician the evening before, he had no idea. He asked me for my pharmacy number and told me he'd call me back. And so he did, a short time later, but what he had done was so much better than any little yellow pill I could have asked for. Not only had he reviewed the CAT scan himself, but he contacted Dr. Robert Korst, the Thoracic Surgeon who was to perform my husband's surgery. Dr. Korst was kind enough to take the time to review the CAT scan on a Sunday morning. Have I mentioned that I love these men?

What we learned was that there was a tumor, the size of a silver dollar, that was "squatting like a toad" in my husband's chest, very close to his spinal column. They weren't sure if the tumor was in his lung or the chest wall. What was certain was that it needed to be removed immediately and it was to be major thoracic surgery. The good news was that the Thoracic surgeon was "fairly certain" that it was something called a "benign neurogenic tumor". We clung to the word, "benign" like our fucking lives depended on it...because they did.

The surgery took place this Monday past, via the VATS (Video Assisted Thoroscopic Surgery) procedure. The initial surgery went well, but was more complex than was initially thought. The next day, it was determined that Ray had a "bleeder" (a small area of internal bleeding) and needed to be brought back to the OR for a second surgery. That surgery went well, the bleeding stopped and he was discharged from the hospital a day later.

On Friday morning, the "not just a little something good, but really spectacularly fucking good", that I'd asked for came into our lives.

From my lips to the ears of the Gods, the tumor was completely benign.

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

P.S. Dr. Meyers, the ER physician, turn out not to be a psychiatric patient as we'd suspected, but instead, was actually an angel in disguise.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I have....New Jersey!

Merry Meet and Happy Wednesday Family and Friends!



So, today was one of those days that, no matter what else is going on, I needed to pause, give thanks for my blessings, and have a couple of glasses of wine!

Over the past several years, I've been followed closely by a Pulmonologist. As some of you know, my sister, Leslie, passed away from a lung disease about 8 years ago. Since her illness has a familial form, meaning one that can be carried genetically, I need to be monitored for any changes in my pulmonary status.


Everything was fine, until 2 years ago when a pulmonary nodule was found on my chest x-ray. It was very small, but because the radiologist reported the finding, I needed to be followed for the next three years with CAT scans to insure that it remained stable.

The first CAT scan confirmed that there was a 2 mm nodule and then a year later, confirmed that it was "unchanged". Last year, when I was supposed to have my final CAT scan, it was denied by my insurance carrier. Why? Because I had no symptoms. Now, if I had symptoms and a nodule in my lung, it could be a bad thing, but since I only had the nodule, they decided not to cover it.


Well, my Pulmonologist and I both argued with the insurance carrier to no avail. What I now find really amusing is that one of the diagnoses that my physician used to support the necessity for my CAT scan was the fact that I live in New Jersey". I shit you not...living in New Jersey is actually considered a health risk! Still, my request to have my CAT scan covered by insurance was denied.


Now, common sense should have prevailed and I should have just paid for it myself, but our finances simply could not bear the burden of a $1200.00 medical bill at the time. Besides, I concluded, I don't smoke, was having a blast, feeling well, so I assumed I was probably ok.


Then I learned that someone I love very much was diagnosed with lung cancer and suddenly, I realized all the possible implications of having blown off that follow up CAT scan! Several panic attacks later, I called my pulmonologist for an appointment.


It's customary to have a chest x-ray as a prerequisite to my appointment. My first order of business after doing so is trying to read it myself. This only heightens my anxiety because, let's face it, I have no fucking idea what I'm looking at and even a normal chest x-ray looks bad to a neurotic mind! Shortly thereafter, I rush it over to my doctor's office, where after several more panic attacks, he calls me to tell me whether or not I can stop freaking out! Ya just gotta love a doctor who indulges his patient's neuroses!

When I had my chest x-ray a few of weeks ago, I was nervous. Really, nervous. The x-ray technician asked if I was coughing or having any symptoms. I explained that I wasn't and that I was just following up a "stable" pulmonary nodule, convincing myself that if I referred to it as "stable", it would be. I was also convinced that the technician's demeanor had changed after she viewed the x-ray and hoped I was just imagining it.


This time, I wasn't so sure I really wanted to know the results, so instead of rushing the films over to my Pulmonologist, I plopped them on the dining room hutch where they sat, for three weeks, staring at me, until today when I went in for my appointment.

Sitting in the waiting room was excruciating! And by the time my doctor came in to the exam room, I was in a cold sweat. I examined his face for signs that he was about to give me bad news. He began by asking me if I had any changes, coughing, shortness of breath, change in endurance level. "Why was he asking me this?", I wondered. The fact that these were normal, routine questions never entered my mind. I began to feel nauseous. "No, no and no, I reported. Then I blurted, "but I'm freaking out!". I told him how worried I was about missing last year's CAT scan, about my friend's illness and how I still had no idea what the chest x-ray showed! He nonchalantly flipped open my chart and said, matter of factly, "Oh, your chest x-ray was perfectly normal. No signs of fibrosis. No nodules". I let out the breath that I had been holding for the past three weeks.

Then suddenly I realized, I was...livid pissed! I was pissed at myself for not being more proactive in my health care. I was pissed on both my sister and my friend's behalves. I began bombarding my poor Pulmonologist with a million questions. "What were they doing to detect lung cancer at the earliest stages?" "What were the advances in it's treatment?". "What about routine chest x-rays?" Was there anything new in the treatment of my sister's disease?" "Should I have genetic testing?". And finally, "If the insurance companies will only cover the cost of my CAT fucking scan if I'm already sick, what was the point of having them? Oh yes, I did!

He was clearly amused, yet sympathetic and spent the next 25 minutes answering all of my questions in a patient, humorous manner and then he said, "tell your friend, not all cancer diagnoses are as bad as they sound and don't worry about your CAT scans, you don't need any more". Have I mentioned, I love this man!

I stepped outside after leaving his office, wondering how I missed the fact that it was such a glorious the day. Just as I was about to let out a sigh of relief and take in a cool breath of air, I thought....

"Holy Crap!!! I gotta get out of New Jersey!"

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Serenity Happens....

Merry Meet and Blessings Family and Friends!

"It wasn't supposed to happen this way".

A friend and I wept with the truth carried by those words. They echoed a sentiment my heart has come to know all too well.

Bad things shouldn't happen to good people. Bad shit should only happen to bad people. Yeah, right! Perhaps in a perfect World.

Bad things happen. Period. I really don't believe that we can necessarily contribute those things to bad luck, falling into bad karma, negative magick. To assume that our Deities are putting us through tests of strength or endurance is nothing more than arrogance. I suspect that the Gods have better things to do than to indulge the over inflated egos of mere mortals.

Let's face it though, when something goes horribly wrong in our lives, we often feel the need to lay the blame somewhere, because the possibility that awful things just randomly happen...would be inconceivable.

My mother and sister died within 6 months of each other and while they had both suffered from long term serious and terminal illnesses, that knowledge brought me only minimal comfort. And just when I didn't think things could possibly get worse, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer and within 15 months, I had lost my entire family.

"What the fuck?!", I thought", totally convinced that I was being punished for something I done, that I was cursed or that it was retribution for some huge karmic debt held over from this, as well as every one of my past lives! I remember thinking, "I must have been a horrible person in another life" It wasn't supposed to happen this way! Or perhaps...it was.

I truly believe that there are reasons for everything we experience and for those in our lives that experience it with us. That is not to say that our lives are predestined, only that there are things that we need to experience, directly or indirectly, either for our own personal growth, to prepare us to deal with some future event or perhaps to help others do the same. These things are just part of the soul's evolutionary process; those lessons that are necessary for the next phase of the soul's journey. So what lesson came to me from all this? Well, I learned that, when I had to be, I was stronger than I ever believed humanly possible.

The energy we expend trying to figure out why bad things happen or who or what is responsible is the ultimate exercise in futility. I've since learned that when when I'm presented with a difficult life situation or worse, one that sucks to a mind blowing degree, the first thing I do is look at it from the best and worst case scenarios. Then, I learn everything I possibly can to prepare for both. After all, knowledge is power! I concentrate all the energy that would have been wasted on trying to figure out who to blame, on what I can do to make the situation better. This immediately puts the control back in my hands. If there isn't anything I can do from a mundane standpoint, I consider what I might be able to do spiritually or magickally and I do it! And...I don't fuck around! I think this is where magick is monumentally beneficial and so much better than sitting around worrying about the outcome while merely hoping for the best.

Still, there comes a time when we need to accept that what, "wasn't supposed to happen this way" did, and may be beyond the scope of what we can influence without Divine Intervention. I believe that therein lies the lesson.

When I was a kid, my Mom taught me a little prayer for those times when I need to be reminded of this lesson.

"Hecate, grant me the serenity to accept the the things I can not change, bring your power to my magick to change the things I can and your wisdom to know the difference".

OK, well, maybe not EXACTLY the way Mom taught me! :)


In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Thursday, August 20, 2009

That Old Black Magick!

Merry Meet Family and Friends!

So, today I heard yet another news report about a horrendous murder that the media is contributing to use of "Black Magic". This has to be the fourth in as many weeks. Then last night, I tuned into one of my favorite shows, "A Haunting". The episode was about a woman and her son who were plagued by "Sprites", after the woman, who was practicing Wicca, admitted, "I guess I really didn't know what I was dealing with". Oh for the love of nerve!

Now ya gotta know, this is just the kind of hype the media lives for. The fact is however, magick is neither black nor white, it's all in how you use it. What one considers "Black Magick" is nothing more than focused energy with a negative intent. And if someone has ever pissed you off to the point you wished that they get exactly what they deserve, guess what? You've just practiced negative magick. That's called, "Black Wishing" and taking a wild guess here, we've all done it.

We're talking magick here folks and whether you believe in it or not, the possibilities are as limitless as one's imagination. You don't have to be Wiccan or a Witch to use it either. That said, if you're going to indulge in the occult arts, I'll give you my unsolicited two cents. Firstly, know what the hell you're doing and be prepared for the consequences.

Let's be honest though, if magick worked to that degree of accuracy every time we used it, we would all be married to our soul mates, be wealthy, beautiful, the World would be free of disease and poverty and all our enemies would be infested with the fleas of a thousand friggin' camels! If someone commits a horrendous crime, it's not necessarily because they're practicing negative magick, it's because they're crazier than a bag of rats!

Still, there is a ton of literature and a bunch of naive, unstable or pissed off people out there who are more than willing to pick up a book and delve into the darkest areas of magick without ever thinking about the implications. What you have is unharnessed energy in the hands of an idiot with a book.

I'll tell you a little tale of the first spell I'd ever cast. I had just learned that my Dad was suffering with terminal cancer. I knew that a cure was not possible, so I cast a spell for what I believed was "for the good of all". That being, that he suffer not a moment of pain throughout the duration of his illness.

I hadn't been practicing very long at that point, so I didn't think it necessary to cast a protective circle or call quarters or shield myself in any way. I just called upon the Goddess Hecate and winged it! I knew very little about Hecate at that point, with the exception that she was very powerful and was known as the "The Queen of the Witches". Given the magnitude of my request, I needed this to work and didn't care what I needed to do to get it. So, with all the emotion and intent I could muster, I cast my spell, somewhat skeptical of it's success and giving little thought to it afterward.

The next day, I woke up feeling, not.quite.right. It felt like the flu. "Hmmmm.....strange, I thought, maybe it was something I ate". Well, by that evening, I had a high fever, a violent headache, a rash that had now spread all over my body, cough, abdominal pain. I was terrified! I couldn't remember ever feeling worse! I ended up in the Emergency Room, where the doctors suspected meningitis, but were actually taking out medical journals to try to determine what the hell I had. I was ill for two weeks, no one ever did figure it out. My Dad, passed away 9 months later with an arsenal of narcotics for pain in his refrigerator that he never needed to take. Was it worth it? I would do it again in a heart beat, just a little more wisely.

I guess my best advice would be know yourself, know and practice your craft wisely and without ego, be clear about your purpose and intent, acknowledge and honor your Deities. There is nothing more humbling than having your ass kicked by the Dark Mother!

Most importantly, Magick does works and often in the way we least expect it!

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Friday, August 14, 2009

Further Proof....




That Jesus is everywhere!

My apologies in advance. My son, Justin, was behind this (no pun intended!)

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy


P.S. I'm so going to hell for this!!! Oh wait, I don't believe in hell. Never mind.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Strange Days Indeed!

Merry Meet and Happy Monday Family and Friends!

So last night I didn't sleep well at all. Just as had begun to fall asleep, I began to hear the faint rumble of thunder in the distance. "Oh that's just great!", I thought to myself. My dogs are terrified of storms and become very restless during them. Usually all four dogs will either huddle under my bed or pace around the room panting and whining until the storm passes. This storm was odd in that the thunder began a couple of hours before it developed into anything significant. I finally fell asleep somewhere close to 2 a.m.

It didn't occur to me until I looked at the clock this morning that, "Oh crap! It's Monday!". I had overslept and now would get a late start getting ready for work. For the next hour so, I rushed about and finally realizing that, since there was no way I was ever going to get to work on time, I might as well be really late. I decided to walk.

I enjoy walking to work. I listen to the birds sing, connect with the elements and just lose myself in thought. I find that by the time I arrive at my office, things don't appear to suck quite as much as I originally thought! Besides, stressed out and pissed off is never a good way to start the day!

I had just turned my first corner, when I noticed three men in dark suits standing in front of a small church near our home. "Church services? On a Monday morning?", I wondered. Then I noticed a hearse parked at the curb. This, in retrospect, seemed appropriate given the way the day began.

The men were chatting directly in the center of the sidewalk where I needed to pass, which was vaguely awkward. I felt it would be rude not to acknowledge them, but what was I supposed to say? "Good Morning" didn't really feel appropriate under the circumstances.

As I passed by the hearse, I got a decidedly creepy feeling. Then, as I approached the men, as if choreographed, they all stepped aside to let me pass by and in unison said, "Good Morning!". Ok, so perhaps it was the lack of sleep or the weirdness of the situation, but at that moment, I just found this all really friggin' amusing. "Apparently not for some of us", I responded before I could stop myself. Oooops! Outside voice!

Thankfully almost all of us found it amusing!

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Out of the Blue!




Merry Meet and Greetings Family and Friends!

So, you know how I recently wrote about my learning to work with spirit guides? Well, at some point after one receives their second degree Reiki attunement, their spirit guides may make an appearance. Now, I have to be honest, I am nothing if not open-minded. I am a true believer in afterlife communication because I've experienced it first hand and have an "open door" policy when it comes to visits from the dead people, but the whole "spirit guide" thing? Meh...I was beginning to have my doubts.

My Reiki Masters made many suggestions for how we might connect with these beings, and I've tried all of them! Guided meditations, Shamanic Journeying, pleading, whining. I got nothing! I've had better luck with dead people, dammit! I was beginning to suspect that if my spirit guides really did exist, they were just not that into me!

A few nights ago, I sat down to do my own Reiki healing. The more one connects to the Universal Life Force Energy, the more potent and powerful it is becomes, so I try to practice daily. I put on my favorite meditation CD, lit some incense, closed my eyes and began to connect to the energy. The beautiful full moon shining down on me through the window added it's own energy to the experience.

After about a half hour of blissful Reiki-ing, suddenly, out of no where, came a flash of brilliant blue light surrounding the profile of a woman's face! The woman, a Victorian lady, looked to be in her early 30's, with a lovely, serene expression. However, she wasn't anyone I recognized.

Imagine, if you will, an antique photograph, yellowed by age, in which the subject's facial features and hair are clearly defined, but the remainder of the photo is pale and faded. Now imagine this photo instead, vibrant blue, and you will have a fairly accurate description of what I'd just experienced!

I felt no fear whatsoever, but kept my eyes tightly closed both to hold the visual and because I wasn't really sure I was ready to open them to find her, ya know, standing in the middle of my living room!

"Was this my spirit guide?", I wondered, which my stunned senses translated as, "Holy friggin' crap!". Yet, before I could even begin wrapping my mind around the possibilities, the words that have manifested themselves in my life more often and more dramatically than I could have ever imagined came to mind with stunning clarity...

"When the student is ready, the teacher appears!"

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy














Tuesday, August 4, 2009

And Sow, We Reap

Merry Meet Family and Friends,

This past weekend, I participated in two Lammas celebrations. Lammas marks the first harvest of the year, is one of three celebrated harvest festivals and heralds the coming of Autumn. It's also a time of reflection upon what we've accomplished or the blessings we have reaped in our lives.

One of rituals I attended was held in a beautiful 65 acre nature center adjacent to a wildlife preserve. After the rites had ended, I was sitting next to the fire, listening to the birds singing. Twilight would soon be approaching and I decided to take a walk down a path through the woods to see if I could spot the first little bats of the evening. I love bats!

I walked only a short distance when there, directly in the center of the path, stood a young tree that created a natural crossroads to what lie ahead. I considered choosing a path, but instead decided to honor someone who has, often in less than subtle ways, guided me along the way. Hecate, the Goddess of the Crossroads.

It is customary to leave food at the crossroads as an offering to Hecate, so I ran back to the pavilion where the ritual had taken place, snatched a mini muffin off the table and headed back down the path. I also brought with me, a single yellow rose.

When I arrived back, I knelt down to lay the rose and the offering at the base of the tree, only to discovered a large toadstool that had also created a perfect little natural altar for me to lay my gifts upon..and so I did.

I looked past the trees, gave thanks for my accomplishments, my blessings, the people in my life who have encouraged and inspired me and wondered what might await me on the path beyond. I realized then that perhaps for today, I had gone as far enough. For now, I am exactly where I was meant to be.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Pursuing My Passions...

Merry Meet Friends and Family:

My friend and fellow writer Voodoo Child came up with a brilliant idea to interview one occultist per month and post it on her blog site. She has honored me by including me for the month of July as her first interview.

If you have reading me for a while than you have heard me rave about her blog! She is a fascinating lady who has inspired me to pursue my own interests in rootwork.

I strongly encourage you to check out her site at VoodooChild at www.passionrituals.blogspot.com.

In Darkness, Light!!


Tracy

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Some Things In Life...

I just can't be sorry for!

Oh yeah, I went there! Enjoy!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

No New Hope for the Confused!

Merry Meet again, Family and Friends!

So this Saturday, we took a drive to New Hope, Pennsylvania. New Hope is a quaint little place with an awesome vibe, about an hour and a half from our home in New Jersey. There are funky little shops, great places to eat and while at times it can be a little touristy, we always find something new and interesting when we visit. Where else can you find an entire shop devoted to mortuary memorabilia?! That said, I should have predicted the strangeness of the day when I stepped from the car only to encounter a man with a monkey on his shoulder wearing a diaper. Just to clarify, the monkey was the one in the diaper.

One of my favorite places is a witchful little shop, appropriately dubbed, "The Witch Shop". They carry incense, herbs, candles, books, etc. And while it's probably not the kind of place that would appeal to the serious occultist, it always feels like a visit with old friends. I did pick up a great book called "Hekate Liminal Rites: A Study of the rituals, magic and symbols of the torch-bearing Triple Goddess of the Crossroads". Thus far, I'm finding it fascinating...but I digress.

While I was paying for my book, a handsome, well dressed gentleman came in with a woman whom I presumed was his partner. He looked around a few minutes before asking the salesperson, "Excuse me, do you have a book called, "The Satanic Bible?" I found it very advantageous that I wasn't drinking anything at the time or I probably would have snorted it out my nose! The salesperson, a young girl looking a tad uncomfortable, replied "I'm sorry, no we don't carry it". Then he asked, "have you heard of it?" He sort of glanced over in my direction as he asked. "Try Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com, I suggested. The author is Anton LeVay". "That's right!, he exclaimed, obviously surprised that I might have this information. "Thank you!" he said, as he left the store.

I guess I wasn't doing very well at hiding my amusement, because the salesgirl was now eyeing me curiously, "I'm sorry. It's not that I have anything against Satanists, I explained. "I just found his blurting it out like that, you know, really friggin' funny". "I actually agree with 8 of the the 11 Satanic Principles of the Earth", I added. Oooops! Outside voice! I could see by her change of expression that I had just made her even more....uneasy!

A few minutes later, a touristy looking couple walked in. They were standing beside me looking at the athames (sharp, pointy ceremonial knives) in the display case, when I heard the husband say, "that's what they use for their blood sacrifices". I glanced up to examine his expression for signs of sarcasm, but alas, no he was dead serious. And then, "don't they know that animals would work just as well as humans". Oh for the love of nerve! I'm sure they were wondering why I was laughing, but I honestly couldn't contain myself! And while I'm usually a huge advocate for dispelling the myths and misconceptions about Wicca and Witchcraft, I got the distinct impression that anything I said would have been like preaching to the choir, if you get my drift!

"How sad is it that this is what they truly believe", I said to the salesgirl as we watched the couple leave. "Yeah", she replied wistfully. "I'm so blogging this", I told her as I made my departure from the store. She laughed, but appeared...relieved.

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Messages Great and Small

Merry Meet and Happy Weekend Friends and Followers!

If you haven't heard this already, let me go on record as saying, I don't like bugs! I know, I know....I'm a Pagan, I should love all living things! Bullshit, I don't like bugs!

Still, to live in this World, I've had to learn to cohabit in harmony with even the lowliest of creatures, even humans! And, I must admit, there are some insects, like butterflies, that I absolutely adore.

Yesterday, I saw something that I'd never witnessed before. I was attempting to take some photos of our new kitten, Ember, but she was being less than cooperative! I looked away from the camera in frustration and glanced through our sliders to the deck. There I saw two butterflies dancing the "dance of joy" together on our back lawn! Now, I've seen little white butterflies doing this often, but these were big, beautiful Monarchs! I tried to get a photo, but trying to get a picture of butterflies dancing is nearly impossible! Seriously! I decided that there are some things that a camera can't possibly do justice and decided instead just to embrace the moment! It was..breathtaking!

Then, this morning, as I began typing this entry, I noticed something crawling atop my the screen to my laptop. :::Cringe::: "Ant", I thought and quickly put my hand over my freshly brewed coffee. I grabbed a napkin off the table with the intention of showing his little ant ass the door, when at closer inspection, I realized this was no ant, but a wee cricket! The tiniest, cutest little cricket I've ever seen! I watched him crawl over the screen, thinking how I might show his little cricket ass the door without squishing him, when suddenly :::ping::: he was gone! "Oh, gross, I thought, now I have a tiny wee cricket "pinging" on my dining room table! If you've ever had a cricket in your house, even smallest can demonstrate their vocal ablilities at ear piercing levels at all hours of the day or night! I perused the table to see where he might have gone, but his color blended in with the table and given his stature, I knew the chances of finding him were pretty slim!

I sat back down to finish my freshly brewed coffee and this entry, when it occurred to me that I should research these "close encounters". I Googled, "insect totems" and came up with some stuff that was amazingly relevant to my current state of being!

Butterfly: Major transformations and transmutations taking place, outcome is different than expected. Symbol of joy, color, gentleness, lightness and change of life. Awakens us to dance on the winds of life, teaches us that growth doesn't have to be painful, allows us to discover the important issues in life for conscious transformation. Don't sweat the small stuff, be joyful and thankful for your blessings.

Cricket: Cricket will attune to new vibrations, heightening intuition, sensitivity and awareness. Crickets can teach effective communication techniques and subconscious communication cues to obtain what is wanted or needed. Crickets are about transformation and resurrection from stages as in the molting process. Expect changes and new developments that will bring growth through reflection and patience as the sensitivity to mental, emotional and physical challenges are coming your way. Cricket will help in finding the right balance of action and using inituition and subtle awareness.

Just as I finished reading, I noticed a subtle movement out of the corner of my eye. It was my wee cricket! Now, for the sake of my sanity and practicality, I absolutely had to boot his wee cricket ass outside. I found a scrap of paper and tried him coaxing him onto it. :::ping::: He respectfully...declined! Amazingly, I spotted him again crawling along the top of my chair and held out my finger, hoping, but not expecting, that he might climb aboard and so he did! I slowly walked to the sliders to put him out, expecting any moment that he would "ping" into oblivion, but instead, he sat perfectly still until I found the nearest planter to deposit his wee self into.

"Thanks for the advice and happy chirping", I said aloud, only to look up to see my crucifix wielding neighbor staring across the fence. "You might want to visit Mary", I whispered.

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy

"Insect Totems" courtesy of:
http://www.starstuffs.com/animal_totems/dictionary_of_insects.htm

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Circle

Merry Meet Family and Friends!

Ok, so I have some happy news and some "not so happy" news. I usually like to dispense with the crappy stuff first given how it, you know, sucks!

Some of you may recall me writing about our elder cat, Dominick. Dominick epitomized the word, "longevity" from a feline standpoint. Our best guess put him somewhere at around 26 years old, making him about 120 in cat years. With the exception of a visit to the vet to be neutered, he was never sick once in his entire 120 years! We were all in agreement however, that his attempt at immortality was beginning to get a little creepy. Yesterday, after a brief illness, Dominick officially left the building. Yes, it saddened us. Yes, we felt he lived a long and happy life and yes, I have a twisted sense of humor!

Now, on to some happier news! Last Thursday, I was at work where for all intents and purposes, I was supposed to be working. Yet, for reasons still unclear to me, I found myself perusing the pet adoption site, Petfinder.com. This site places homeless pets with adoptive parents. You enter the kind of pet you'd like to adopt, their age, and your location and it brings up every animal shelter or adoption agency in your area, with a every pet available, complete with photos! I've adopted 3 of my 4 dogs without ever having to leave the comfort of my home. In light of recent pet adoption disasters however, my husband had put a moratorium on any further adoptions. Still, while the cat's away.....

As much as I hate to admit it, it seems we have run into string of some bad cat luck of late. Several months ago we lost our cat, Autumn as well. We adopted Autumn from Angels for Animals Network, the same agency from whom we recently adopted Persephone, the cat that was so ill. Like Persephone, Autumn was plagued with illness from shortly after her adoption. We spent hundreds of dollars in vet bills, only to have her die suddenly. She was only a year and half old. I was heartbroken. Yes, Ray had a valid point. No more cats!

Ok, so I typed in a search for "cat", "baby" and "domestic long hair" and up pops a photo of a beautiful 8 week old kitten, that bore a striking resemblance to my Autumn. I was smitten! Without hesitation, I sent off a cheerful little note to the agency to find out if she was still available and she was! Now, my only dilemma was how to tell Ray that I wanted to adopt another cat. Then I noticed a little box on the bottom of the screen that read, "Share This Pet on Facebook". Oh yes, I did!

A few moments later, my phone rang. It was Ray and the conversation went a little something like this:

Ray: We're not getting another cat!
Me: But she's a baby! And she looks just like my Autumn!
Ray: I don't care, Trace! We're not getting another cat! Are you crazy?!
Me: But isn't she cute?
Ray: I don't care how cute she is! We don't need another cat! I don't want another cat! We're not getting another cat!

Hmmmm...now I could see I was going to have to resort to my powers of persuasion if I was going to make this happen.

I mustered up my best "don't fuck with me" attitude and yelled, "Ray, if you don't let me adopt this kitten, I am going to take a shit fit the likes of which you can only imagine!!! "Sometimes you act just like a 3 year old!", Ray yelled back. "Yes I do!, I retorted. "A three year old who practices Witchcraft!".

May I present, Lady Ember a.k.a. "Baby Wiatch"


Sunday, July 12, 2009

That's The Spirit!

Merry Meet and Greetings Again, Family and Friends!

So, since I began practicing Reiki, I've learned quite a bit about working with "Spirit Guides". Our spirit guides are those disincarnate beings who provide other worldly assistance when we need it. They are not the same as having a Guardian Angel, because apparently, one's Guardian Angel is a separate entity. Who knew?!

Given the nature of spirits, I wanted to learn as much as possible about them, generally speaking, if we were going to have a close working relationship. I went in search of some good books on the subject, but the selection at the local Borders was pitiful. I finally settled on a book, but realized shortly after I began reading, that I'd have to take this author's expertise with a grain of salt. That said, I'm not sure that any mere mortal can have actual "expertise" in this area? Seriously.

I did come across one thing, however, that gave me some significant food for thought. The author suggested not calling upon your departed loved ones when you are of need of assistance with Earthly matters. Hmmmm....why, I wondered?

She went on to explain that after death, we retain the same personalities we had in life and if we shared personality conflicts before, in all likelihood, those things haven't really changed all that much on the other side. Oh now that's a friggin' scary thought!!!

So, wait, does that mean that my sister has the same degree of sibling rivalry she had when she was alive? Is my Mother destined to piss me off for all eternity. And what about my Aunt Ann? The woman gave new meaning to the word, "Bitch!" Oh yeah, I went there!

Then I recalled that a year or so ago, my husband and I had wandered into a dusty little bookshop run by a woman who was a Medium. She and I were chatting when suddenly she stopped speaking, looked at me and asked that I follow her to the back of the store. I found this a little...unnerving, but I went anyway. Once there, she gave me an impromptu reading in which she brought through my Mom. My mother was a tiny woman with a very raspy voice that made her sound much more intimidating than her 4'11 inch, 90 lb. frame.

The Medium told me so many things about my family that she couldn't have possibly known! If that wasn't enough to freak me out, she then said, in an imitation of my Mother's voice that was so eerily accurate it made my blood run cold, "Your Mother says, "He's still a pain in the ass". I glanced over at my husband who was near by browsing through the books and asked, "Who, Ray?" (Sorry, Ray...I was, you know, guessing). "No, the woman said, "your father!" Ok, well that was it for me! No one else would have said this but my Mother!

Yes, to my great dismay, expertise or not, I had to admit that what the author had written made perfect sense, on so many levels. Some people will continue to be a pain in the ass, even in death!!! Now there's a comforting thought, isn't it? And here I thought we got all "enlightened" and shit!!!

In Darkness, Light!


Tracy