Is gratitude part of your practice?

It can be hard when we’re going through difficulties to remember to be grateful for what we do have in our lives, but it can make such a difference. When we are truly thankful for the small blessings in our lives it reminds us that the world is not ‘against’ us. It can be all too easy to forget the good when we’re caught up in the less-good.
This also applies to our practice as Polytheists. When things aren’t going so well do you still remember to thank the Gods for what is in your life? When that surprise gift/job/opportunity comes up do you remember to say, “thank you”?

Between March and up until mid-September time I was really struggling, but even in the darkest moments I was still able to find little things to be grateful for – and I don’t just mean in a superficial, ” I suppose I should be grateful/thankful for this” way. I mean on a truly grateful level. I mean on a level where you feel that thanks and gratitude in the depths of your heart.
Sometimes it would literally just be, “thank you for this hot water bottle,” when I was in pain. In moments when I felt lost or didn’t know what on earth was going on with my life I found myself repeatedly saying to my Beloveds, “thank you for being there, thank you for watching over me.” Even when my fears blocked Them out I knew They were still there, and I was (and am) truly, deeply grateful for that.

But the one that came up time and time again was perhaps the most simple, and yet maybe the most powerful: “thank you for existing, and thank you for letting me know You exist.” I felt (and feel) this from the depths of my heart, and not only in darker times but also moments of happiness, joy and excitement.

Do you remember to thank your Beloved Deities even when it’s not a ‘big’ thing? Do you remember to thank Them for all the little things that happen or come into your life? Do you remember to thank Them for being a part of your life? And, most importantly, do you thank Them just for Being?

Gratitude doesn’t cost anything, and if expressed in a genuine and heartfelt manner it becomes a gift and an offering in itself.

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Remembrance Sunday prayer + repost of ‘Why I wear a poppy’

On this Remembrance Sunday
I wear my Poppy to remember the fallen,
To remember my family and Ancestors Who fought and gave their lives
And hearts for freedom.
I remember those who fought
To maintain the liberties
Of their families and people,
And I honour them for their sacrifice.
May they now know peace,
May they be remembered.
May the freedom we have
Because of them
Never be taken for granted.

(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, Northern Tamarisk, 2017

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You can also read my piece from last year because I feel it’s still relevant:
Full article link: Why I wear a poppy

I do not celebrate war, in fact I hope continually for the end of conflict the world over. The reason I wear the poppy is to remember people like my Grandad George, who was in the RAF and an air traffic controller in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, my Great Aunty Margaret, who was part of the Women’s Army in the UK, and her first husband Norman, who was killed only a few days after they married. In the First World War my Great Grandmothers worked in the munitions factories.

I honour the fact that the people in our Armed Forces are fighting for a concept I can believe in – freedom – even if I find it very hard to agree with the means.

(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, Northern Tamarisk, 2017

New Etsy listings – Sekhmet, Horus and Khepera

I thought it was about time I finally started finding new homes for the Deity statues I’ve amassed over the past few years. I can’t stand seeing Deities unloved and homeless so I have rather a hoard now! I have lots more to list and can only manage to photograph a few at a time, but you can expect to see plenty more in the coming months.
Part of the idea behind the Etsy shop was to become more financially independent by doing something I love, and I hope to better realise this as I move forward. Another reason is that it can be quite hard to find good quality Egyptian statues in the UK, so in some small way I hope to make them more available, thus honouring my Beloved Deities by sending Them forth into peoples’ homes.

For now, due to the breakable nature, weight and subsequently high postage cost of the statues, the majority will be available to UK buyers only. I cannot justify charging nearly £18 postage to the USA, or £13 to the EU, especially when import taxes are factored in too, so I apologise. Some of the smaller items I have yet to list may be made available to those outside the UK.

I will still be making prayer strands, which will be available to buyers outside the UK. I haven’t got any to list yet but now my wellbeing is starting to improve I hope to get back to my beads soon.

Anyway, here are the four preloved Deities currently available from my Etsy shop and looking for Their new homes:

Tall Sekhmet statue (28cm) – https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/553482180/large-egyptian-goddess-sekhmet-black

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 Herbal project: Dandelion flower tincture

I saw some lovely bright Dandelions on the grass opposite our house last Monday and they gave me an idea. Mum and I are both in need of some more joyous, spontaneous energies, and we’re both exploring Inner Child healing at the moment. For me the Dandelion has a positive, joyful, almost childlike playfulness to it. So many people see it as a weed but it has amazing detoxification properties, is full of nutrients and can be used for uplifting.

Mum helped me pick them, and after checking them for critters I put them in a jar, poured vodka over them, and placed them on my altar. I thought I’d ask Bast and Horus to help charge the tincture. Both are associated with the Sun. Cats can be playful, nurturing and protective, like Bast. Horus can see from a higher vantage point, is associated with children as Horus the Child, and is sometimes shown with His wings protecting the King’s back. As such I feel like Their blessings will add to the energy of the Dandelion tincture, which I intend to use in aura sprays to nurture us during Inner Child work and bringing in more joyful, abundant energies.

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The things that show progress – facing fears and reconnecting

I’m finally back reconnecting with my Beloveds. It has been a lonely time without Them. I had built up such a fear around my channel and of imposters that I blocked out pretty much all of my Beloveds for a time, but I also developed a deep-level fear of connecting to my Beloved Loki in particular. I took an angry individual’s mis-representing words to heart. The playing on fears and betrayal of trust plunged me deeper into my Underworld journey and brought me into my very own Dark Night of the Soul, where my channel went virtually silent.
Despite the assurances of two intuitive spirit workers in the intervening months I still let fear win.

Things started to really shift last month, though, and on the day of the Autumn Equinox I did a lot of releasing work, as well as Shadow integration. The following day I was recovering in bed (releasing tends to bring the pain into my physical body so it can then be worked out and fully released) and I just felt Loki and Sigyn there. I cannot describe how beautiful that certainty was; knowing it was Them. And They gave me the physical ‘tells’ arranged previously.

They told me it’s time to get back on the horse and stop allowing someone else’s misunderstandings to hold me back. They were understanding of why I shut down the way I did, but also very clear that I have to move on from feeling the way I do. I have work to do.
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Shared: Sobek Devotional looking for submissions

A while ago I was gifted a deck of Hachette Egyptian tarot-type cards by a man whose witchy shop I used to visit. Unfortunately the shop had to close down, but I remember that little place of magic and mystery fondly. Anyway, back to the cards: I haven’t used them in a long time, and last night I felt drawn to use them again. The card that came up was Sobek. I wondered why the Great Crocodile had paid me a visit, and then I remembered that there is a Sobek devotional looking for submissions. So I have taken Sobek’s hint to share the link, and I will await to see if He inspires me to create an entry of my own.

We’re a month in and I’ve had some submissions so far, but I would love to have more. If anyone’s thinking of submitting something, please send it in! This devotional can’t happen without your submissions, so please get in touch. sobekdevotionalATgmail.com

via PSA: Send me things for the Sobek Devotional! — Per Sebek

Changes and update – I am a Polytheist, first and foremost

I am a Spiritual Nomad.
There is no tradition where I hang my hat.
I answer the call of the Deities,
Following the path They direct me on,
Working with Whoever decides
To make Themselves known to me.
For however long or short
A time that may be.

I am a Polytheist, first and foremost. While I adore my Deities, I have come to feel constricted by indentifying myself so strongly with the Northern Tradition. The truth is that the Gods and Goddesses, the Spirits of the land, and the land itself are my belief system. I feel constrained by the structure of a path where I’m told the way I relate to my Deities is ‘wrong’ somehow. I feel like a butterfly pinned down while still alive, unable to spread my wings and fly into my own flow.

So while I respect those in the Northern Tradition for choosing one path, I realise now that it is not mine. Loki, Sigyn, Hella, Jormungand and Family remain my Beloveds, and They will continue to be much-loved and honoured by me. But the Tradition itself is not for me. I will continue to find pleasure and meaning in reading the Eddas, and pondering my Norse Beloveds, and I will continue to research Norse culture as I please. But the main words I am reclaiming for this are freedom and enjoyment.
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Honouring Persephone – Shadow integration

I’ve long had a fascination with the myth of Persephone and Hades; even in childhood I wondered if there was more to the story. As part of my Shadow work I’m trying to heal, work with and integrate parts of my Self that have been pushed down for too long. In giving them their say, and in trying to find constructive, positive outlets for their ‘light’ sides I have come to realise the importance of balance. In a healing session with J a couple of weeks ago Loki and Sigyn reminded me of Persephone, and how she had to learn to balance her Upperworld and Underworld time. She had to learn to balance these parts of Herself, and so She may also be able to help me.

Weirdly I’d been buying pomegranate seeds for salads for a couple of weeks beforehand, not even remembering about Persephone’s story. I had also bought a little pomegranate pendant last year because I felt Her calling, but then got caught up in health concerns and other things that took over. This time I am in Her domain, somewhere She understands, trying to find my way back to the Upperworld but still healing my ‘Underworld’.

I went on Etsy and found a lovely bright pomegranate clay piece, and checked in with Her, asking if it would be an appropriate offering and focus for my work with Her. I got the impression it was indeed acceptable, so bought it. I’m a very visual person, and I love different textures; I like to have something to look at or hold onto that helps remind me of my Deities, or acts as a focus for Them.

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Channeling Isis – when Set arrives legless

One of my more recent tasks has been to reconnect with the Egyptian God Set. This Deity has fascinated me for years. With the breaking down of my old self I realise that my focus needs to be more balanced. Although Loki and Family are still truly Beloved to me, I have neglected ties with many of my Beloved Egyptian Deities.

As recompense I said prayers to Set, asking Him if He still wished to work with me, and if He would grant me His protection. I said I would like to buy a bigger statue for Him, as the current one was only around 2 inches high – the smallest on the altar. A good Set statue is hard to find in the UK, and I looked online but couldn’t find one.

Two days later I was sat in front of my altar and my attention was drawn to a book on my right. It was an Ancient Egyptian Herbal by Lise Manniche. I had done bits of bibliomancy before, so took the hint and turned to a random page. The entry was for Watermelon. According to the book Watermelon was created when Set spilled his seed chasing Isis in the form of a bull. It was used in a wine for protection against evil ‘demons’. Since I’d asked for Set’s protection during a very difficult and vulnerable time I took it as a sign. I looked online for Watermelon wine but to no avail. I did, however, come across some Watermelon liqueur. Asking Set through my pendulum whether he would like the liqueur for offerings I got a resounding “Yes” and ordered it.

Later that afternoon I got an ebay alert saying a Set statue had been listed! Now, you could look at this as three completely unconnected, random events, but I choose not to. To me this is cause and effect: you pray and make reparations, you ask for help, and express a wish to more openly honour Them, and They respond.

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Available now from my Etsy store: Nine-Flame Prayer Beads + P&P update

These beautiful Nine-Flame Prayer Beads are available now from my Etsy store!

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The Nine-Flame strand is based on a Brighid’s Flame set I made for a friend. They  are perfect for connecting with Deities associated with fire and smithcraft, the blazing sun, or of the burning heat of the desert. Could also be used to connect with volcanic Deities, primal forces, or to act as a representative of the element of Fire.
Fire can burn away the old to make way for the new, so these prayer beads could be used in releasing ceremonies, as well as for renewal. After the dust has settled from the ashes of the old the new is born.
For writers and creators they could also be used to channel the flame of inspiration

Made of nine glass flame twist beads, 4mm glass beads and glass seed beads. Length: approximately 48cm. Weight: Approximately 45g
There is one strand currently available but I will be making a few more. How many depends on how long the flame twist beads last as I may be using some in other designs.

P&P Update: Etsy has a lovely little postage setting for the European Union. Since the cost of postage to the EU is the same throughout I have added this option. If you live in any of the EU countries you can now purchase from Northern Tamarisk without having to send a request for your country to be added to my postage list. It also makes it a lot quicker and easier for me, because otherwise I’d have to list each country separately.
As always, postage to the UK and USA remains.

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