Reconnecting with Fire

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Over the Autumn, Winter and into Spring we had an open fire every night. Lighting and tending to the fire brought me closer to the element of Fire itself, and to Deities associated (and I associate) with Fire. Not only that but it brought me into a better understanding of the hearthfire, and how important tending that would be. The expression ‘hearth and home’ became something that had more meaning to me than it had before.

Where we lived previously we had a log burner, and I loved seeing the fire through the glass window, but I didn’t realise that even that was keeping Fire ‘contained’ and ‘removed’ somehow. When we moved to where we’re currently living and the seasons turned, having an open fire was a kind of revelation. Here Fire is not shut away, it’s a part of the room, and feels more a part of the home. Our open fire became the hearth fire, the home-fire. Even my parents said how much of a difference it made, how it made the house feel different; how coming together by the fire and tending to it as a family made the house feel more homely.

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Shrine for a beloved pet

My beloved Orlando passed away five years ago and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. He was a beautiful soul, full of character, and when I became ill at 17 he became my rock. We became so much closer after that, and he pretty much devoted himself to my care. Whenever he was in the house he would come to spend time with me, whether in my room or on my bed. We had a special bond that I will never forget and I like to honour that.

Although he appears in my Ancestor shrine I wanted to create something a little more personal. Where we are currently has wide windowsills, and since Orlando used to love gazing out of my bedroom window at the world below I thought it a fitting place for a shrine for him. I bought the ornament a long time ago because it looked like him, and so I decided to get it out again (it had been packed away) and place it with two of my photos. In January mum let me become custodian of Orlando’s ashes, so I placed them with the photos and ornament and now the shrine feels more complete. I am also thinking of making some memorial prayer beads, with a bead for each year of his life.

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Creating a shrine for beloved pets is a really lovely way to honour them and their place in your life. I thoroughly recommend it.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

Two types of energy put into devotions – love and fear

Although logically I was aware of the concept of different energies in devotional practice I didn’t fully, truly understand it until I experienced it for myself.
In fear (of a situation) we project a desperate energy, and we pray because we need something – security, love, reassurance, a sign, healing, etc. In love we project a far more balanced and open energy, and we pray because we love – because we’re grateful, because we feel blessed, abundant, secure or supported.

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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”?

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For Sigyn

Sigyn is the Pole Star –
Shining light;
Axis mundi.

Lady of mercy,
Well of compassion,
Beloved Heart.

She is the hand
That holds ours
In times of sorrow,

The hand that
Leads in the dark
And gloom.

She is the Keeper
Of all we hold dear.
She keeps it safe

For us
When we cannot
Hold it for ourselves.

She is the rose
That blooms
With heavenly scent,

Lifting both
Heart and mind,
Tending the soul,

Covering it
In Her gentle
Velvet-soft embrace.

She is the light
In the dark,
The guide, the spark

Of Divine
That guides us home
To our Self.

She loves us,
Foibles, mistakes and all.
She always leads us home.

———
(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2017

Despacho-type ceremony to thank the house & garden Spirits at our old home

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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.

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 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 there. 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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Prayer for passing over

For my Danish Great Aunty Else, who had a wicked sense of humour, loved Robert Ludlum books, Midsomer Murders, Chinese food, ‘collecting’, birds, and her family.

May you be held
In comforting arms
As you go
Upon your way,
May you leave
With loving thoughts
And memories of better days.
May you always be remembered
In our hearts
And in our prayers,
As you take
The next step
On your soul’s
Flight of stairs.

She will now sit with her sister, nephew and parents in my family shrine. I have a wooden comb she gave me when I was 8, and will always think of her when I use it.