Ixchel, the Mesoamerican influence, South American Shamanism and Palo Santo 

I first learned about the Mesoamerican culture in my teens in history classes, when we were studying the Spanish armada and the Conquistadors. I also saw a program on the Discovery Channel and was hooked. I watched as many programs as I could, later turning to books – cenotes in particular fascinate me. I based a GCSE drama assignment on the Aztecs – something about an argument between the Sun God Huitzilopotchtli and the Moon Goddess Mitztli – I got to play Mitztli, complete with a big silver crescent moon tied to my head. I even went to an exhibition on the Aztecs in London and based an A-level art project on the statues I saw there. Quetzalcoatl, Xipe Totec and Coatlicue were particularly memorable. When I started exploring spirituality and opening up to Spirit I dreamed of two temples, and after trawling the internet I found out they were the Mayan temples of Tikal and Palenque. A few years ago the Mayan Goddess Ixchel seemed to come in a lot; never saying anything, but coming in during certain times of pain and making it known She was there. She is said to have founded Palenque.

When Loki came into my life three years were devoted pretty much solely to Him, Sigyn and Their family. While I wouldn’t take back those amazing years for anything it meant that I often didn’t give much attention to my other Beloveds. Since the upheavals that started in late February my attentions have gotten more diverse, and I’m engaging with more of my Beloveds. I’m also getting more coming back into my life.

Last month I had three instances in a week where Ixchel came up. I took the hint and reminded myself a little about her, and among other things She is a Goddess of childbirth (so connected with gestation and birthing in all senses), weaving, water and also of healing. I believe She is coming in to help me with my own rebirth, helping me with the deeper levels of healing and reintegration.

Here is a photo of my lovely Ixchel statue. She was created by Studio Lindy on Etsy. Ixchel came all the way from Australia, so She’s had a long journey to get to me. She even took a detour back to Lindy because Royal Mail decided they had a problem with the address, but she finally made it to me. She looks rather at home on my window sill.

I’m also being called back to my interest in Mesoamerican culture, and of South American Shamanism. I’m not going to start calling myself a Shaman, but the spirit of those practices calls to something deep within me, and has done for around 10 years. It’s something I learned a lot from before, and feel I can learn a lot from it again now.
This comes combined with a dream I had in May where I was buying a bottle of Palo Santo water. I had heard of the wood but hadn’t felt drawn to it before. Along with Ixchel and the Mesoamerican influence coming back in I took it as a sign that Palo Santo is something I need to work with. I remembered clearly the company’s logo I saw on the bottle in the dream, so I looked them up and lo and behold they sell Palo Santo water – I hadn’t looked at their website before, I’d only seen them advertised in a magazine I used to buy. They also had the essential oil (ethically sourced and harvested) so I treated myself to some, along with a sample piece of the wood for smudging. While browsing I came across a wooden egg-shaped rattle, and when I tried to click on the ‘more information’ link the page jumped (the signal on my phone is dodgy so pages don’t always load properly) and the egg rattle was added to my basket! I checked with Them through my pendulum whether this was just coincidence but no, I was supposed to have it. When I finally got the information loaded it said the rattle could be used for rebirth ceremonies – message received.

So here are my Palo Santo goodies:

The essential oil smells a little like Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) with a hint of pine and something more earthy. It’s really good for cleansing the aura of any negativity, attachments and untoward spirit influence. I’ve also found using a drop in each palm and then inhaling the scent to be very grounding.
I haven’t tried burning the wood yet but it has a lovely smell to it; woody, earthy and slightly sweet. It’s often used in cleansing rituals.
Unfortunately I cannot recommend this particular brand of Palo Santo water. It has additives in it and a fragrance that smells like aftershave. It is, however, still very effective in a cleansing bath.
I am looking up other options for Palo Santo water, but there aren’t many suppliers in the UK, and it is quite pricy. I may experiment with Palo Santo wood in vodka as a kind of tincture and water it down. I’ll keep you updated.

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THIRD TIME LUCKY! Despacho-type ceremony to thank the house & garden Spirits at our old home

(The first time this went live before I managed to add the pictures, so I drafted it but WP seemed to have glitched – thanks Mercury Retrograde – and went live again. So it’s FINALLY rescheduled with the photos)

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We moved house on 6th July. We left the home and garden that nurtured and nourished us for almost 14 years. If we could pick them up and move them closer to the new area we would have, but we could no longer stay. As so often in life, there are times when what we’ve known and loved leads to stagnation, and opportunities for growth need to be taken.

We’ve moved to a different area of the county, one closer to the main city. We need the opportunities it provides, the better transport links, the better and more varied health and wellbeing facilities, and more groups so we can experience more of life again. While the area we had been living in for the past 20 years has some beautiful countryside it is a deadzone when it comes to opportunities for me and my parents’ growth.

The house and garden we left had looked after us well, and I’ll miss our lovely Elders, Hawthorns and Blackthorns. To thank them all I did a Despacho-type ceremony on one of the few dry days of our last week here. I used some pink handmade fair trade paper to represent the love and appreciation my parents and I feel.

The flowers were all from the garden, and I also added some dried Rose petals and Lavender. As is customary I also added lots of sugar, and some mini pretzels to represent never-ending memories.
Mum also came to see it, and added some pieces of Lavender and more sugar.
Afterwards I meditated with the Despacho for a while, then wrapped it up and buried it behind the Plum tree. I offered some potato vodka and the rest of the pretzels.

Here are some photos:

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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.

I love my Gods, and I love them in ways that go beyond words. That also goes beyond the ‘guidelines’ of any one tradition. I feel trying to adhere to these ‘guidelines’ limits how I interact and work with my Deities… all for the sake of being seen to do it ‘properly’. If you read Love Your Gods Your Way you will see that I have been struggling with this issue of being seen to do things ‘the right way’ for a while.

I have have many Beloveds in the Egyptian pantheon too, but recently I have started to have a number of Deities coming in Who also wish to be honoured, from a number of different cultures. Some simply wish for me to honour Them, Others wish to help instruct me through phases of development, and still Others are coming in to work more deeply. And I wish to honour and work with Them. And I cannot fully do that while I still cling to labels and practices that are not suitable for who I am now, and for where I’m heading.

I am a devotional Polytheist, first and foremost. And while I will be writing about my Norse Beloveds I am moving beyond the label of ‘Northern Tradition’ so I can better honour my many Beloveds in a way that allows me to grow not only in myself, but in my relationships with Them. Because Their opinions are what matters the most to me. As long as They are happy with my individual and unique practice that is all that truly matters.

 

Divine signs – moving and renewal

How is this for a sign that things are both ‘on the move’ and renewing? The council has decided (after umpteen years of it being overdue) to choose today to start resurfacing the road through our tiny village. Today also happens to be phase one of us moving house. Tomorrow we complete it and move into our rental property.

Roads are about exploring new avenues, and moving on to better things. In being resurfaced they can also represent smoothing over the ‘scars’ and hurts of the past, all the bumpy patches, and bringing about healing.

So is the road work starting on the same day we start moving out sod’s law, or a divine sign? I prefer to choose the latter explanation.

Poem for Loki

Sharing the end of a poem I wrote early this morning, dedicated to Himself. In some ways Loki reminds me of elements of Shiva, with His divine dance of destruction that leads to renewal, the fire that burns away and leads to new, stronger growth.

Sometimes all
Must fall apart
To reach the truest
Depth of heart,

And there He’ll stand,
Dancer, Singer,
Trickster, Sage,
Loki: Light Bringer.

Love your Gods your way

If you have your own connection to your Deities and Inspirers, trust it. Your work with your Deities is just that – your work, your connection.

Love Them quietly. Love Them loud and proud. Love Them in little ways. Love Them in big ways. Love Them for Their distance. Love Them for Their closeness. All that matters is you love Them, you connect with Them, you honour Them in your own way. 

Reclaiming my inner Witch, & exploring Magical Herbalism

 Even back in childhood I loved reading about witches and magic. A number of years ago I started researching the witch trials and Medieval magic, but most of it was so far removed from the forest and nature that I put it aside. That longing for connection remained, however, and it became a part of my spirituality. It’s why she doesn’t show much on the surface, but dig a little deeper and my Witchy nature is there. She called to me in February, but other things took over. I had a dream at the beginning of June where I discovered a powerful Witch in a tomb, and when I looked at her face she was me. I am rediscovering this part of me.

The ‘higher’ magics, in general, are not for me; that journey is for others. In relation to my work with my Northern Beloveds my path is with the greener and wild denizens of the Woods. It’s in the plants, the trees, the flowers and fruits. It’s with the animals and birds and insects. It’s with the Spirits, Elementals, the Fair Folk. It’s in charms and amulets, cleansing and protection. It’s the healing practices of the wild wood Mothers, in nature and land, in Runes, dreams and symbols. It’s in dance and the movement of my body. It’s in song and the power of words, in sound. And who knows what else?

As in February I feel Angerboda’s presence again. While She values physical strength, strength of will and strength of heart also speak to Her. Ours is not a ‘close’ connection, but I feel Her presence aiding me in connecting to the denizens of the wild woods once more, alongside Laufey, Whose presence I have begun to feel again on the periphery. The magical side of Herbalism  has long fascinated me, and it complements my Aromatherapy training and experiments; but the thought of studying so much at this time is overwhelming. I wondered what I could do, how I could do this. The morning after that wondering I awoke with this Inspired thought: start with three.

I have a deep love of, and connection with, Elder, Hawthorn and Blackthorn. They all grow in our current garden, all have lots of magical-related folklore, and all would have been growing in Viking-era Scandinavia – and thus perhaps the Iron Wood. Each have strong associations with magical practices, protection, witches and Fairies.

I was told recently by an intuitive that I have an Earth Mother/ Warrior vibe at the moment. Perhaps that’s why Angerboda and Laufey can start to come in again. I am reclaiming myself for myself, as Odin sacrificed to Odin to claim the power and knowledge of the Runes.

I’m sure more will be revealed to me as time moves on. For now, however, I’m welcoming home this part of me long-feared and long-ignored. I thank Angerboda and Laufey for Their gifts of the instruction to come, for however long that may be, whatever form it may take. And let us not forget that Loki has magics of His own – perhaps learned from His mother and Angerboda?