Category Archives: Opinions

To Change OurselvesI’m

“What we love we shall grow to resemble.”  — Bernard of Clairvaux

There comes a day when we realize that looking for external solutions to our problems just won’t work.  How vain has been the time and energy spent looking for the perfect mate or partner, the perfect job, the perfect life. So instead, we start to search for internal solutions; we begin to change ourselves.

To change ourselves is a different process from controlling ourselves, which cannot be done.  But when we start to give up the control, the rigidity, the perfectionism, the self-will, we begin to change.  This change seems like a miracle because it is!  It’s an incredible gift from the Universe, who loves us beyond our imagining.  The more we change our focus from the external to the internal, the more we’re able to accept ourselves.  We become humble with each small choice to accept ourselves as we are.  We become whole as we let that choice be enough for today.

Are you living within yourself or outside of yourself today?  To keep the focus within requires self-acceptance.


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Interpreting the Runes ~ Wunjo ~ Joy ~ Light

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  — Adapted from the words of Reinhold Niebuhr

Wunjo is considered to be a positive rune and when drawn in the upright position will always represent joy and happiness coming into life. It is an excellent omen in a reading. A shift, that was due, has occurred and the blessings associated with Wunjo may freely be received and accepted. These blessings may relate to material gain, emotional life, or in a heightened sense of one’s own well-being. Be happy!

In combination with other runes, it indicates success in whatever areas they rule. For example, with travel runes such as Raidho or Ehwaz, it can show a fortunate and generally pleasing journey; with message runes such as Ansuz, it can mean good news; when Wunjo is drawn with love related runes, in can show deep affection and long-lasting emotional happiness.

Often, Wunjo will signify the object of one’s affections. In this case, it usually shows some activity undertaken with this person will end with a happy result.

Wunjo can also represent joy in one’s work, especially if that work is artistic or creative . Like the rune Kenaz, Wunjo appears in readings for people who are artists or craftsmen and shows that this creative element is very important to their personal happiness and wellbeing.

Reversed The meaning of Wunjo reversed is exactly the opposite of everything stated about its meaning in the upright position. Things are slow in coming and the person for whom the runes are being consulted may be undergoing a difficult, if not crisis time, filled with misery and unhappiness.

The runes drawn in addition to Wunjo should show the specific problem areas. Drawn with Raidho or Ehwaz, an unsafe or unsuccessful trip with breakdowns and delays are indicated and are likely.

If the question being asked relates to one’s employment, Wunjo reversed warns of dissatisfaction, either with the job itself or with one’s job performance.

In matters of love, this rune shows disappointment or a delay of some type in a present relationship, the intensity of which can be discerned from the other runes drawn.

In all questions about business, travel or love, Wunjo reversed shows a need for caution, perhaps even putting off an important decision until a seemingly better time.

The rune of Wunjo can also show trouble caused by a third-party in the form of friction and delays. One should be on the lookout for any possible double-dealing on the part of acquaintances, friends, business associates or opponents.


What I Want is to be Myself Again

mark blue

I’m learning that when we lose faith in our feelings, we lose faith in ourselves and become outer-directed. That is, we look to the world to tell us how to feel and what to do.  We seek approval and love from others so we can prove to ourselves that we are worthy.  Paradoxically, to be outer-directed is to be self-absorbed. How can this be?  We feel so unsure of who we are , that we cannot let go, be spontaneous or real.We can reclaim ourselves by becoming inner-directed.  This means looking within ourselves for the direction we need.  When we’re just beginning to learn to trust our feelings, this can seem to be truly agonizing.  It means trusting the reality of our needs and our right to express them.  Only then can we find the faith in ourselves and in life, that we have lacked.

Becoming inner-directed takes self-acceptance and self-love.  It also takes time. Until then, there will be no real peace because it is the only way to find ourselves.

The Duality of Me

The Duality of Me

The Duality of Me

“He communicates information and brings people together. That’s why in medical astrology Gemini rules the nervous system; it functions as a network to carry messages from the senses to the brain. In social situations, the Gemini archetype is also the catalyst. This involves two factors of course – positive and negative (dual). In the positive sense, Gemini friends are good at circulating your business card at social events. Give them a stack of cards to add t their gardener’s, hairdresser’s, caterer’s, seamstresses. But, in the negative sense, beware of the gossip tendency.” – Kathleen Burt

I am a Gemini. There was a time when I was ashamed to say that I’m a Gemini.  People would begin to go off about how horrible their entire life experience has been with us Gems.  Really.  And then they’d hurl their judgments of me (cloaked as comparisons of course), by the time they were done, I felt like an inappropriate, over talkative, manipulative ass. I’d try to recover by saying, “I’m gregarious”.  But you wouldn’t even believe the number of people that chose to believe that I’m not a safe person to be around – because I’m a Gemini.  Well let me tell you this: there is a duality about me.  And it’s all good. Sure, I may be Bi-polar.  But that’s all good too.

Some of my friends and family actually enjoy that I’m a Gemini.  My duality.  Yes, there seems to be two of me in many aspects of my life.  But to a degree, it balances me.  I still love myself when I hate myself.  See myself as honest when I’m lying.  See myself as creative when I feel like a slug.  See what I mean?  And you know what?  I am gregarious!  I love people.  Love to hate ’em and love to love ’em.  Sometimes I love too fast.  Sometimes I want all that I cannot have or have.  But overall, I love who I am, and am happy that I’m loved by someone else.


To Learn to Love Ourselves

“There is luxury in self-reproach.  When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.”  — Oscar Wilde

Just as we don’t have the right to judge someone else, we don’t have the right to judge ourselves.  Our unhealthy script in the past was that when we did something we felt ashamed of, we judged ourselves guilty.  All too often, we then punished ourselves. Was that behavior an expression of our shame and sadness because of our defects? Punishing ourselves won’t stop our unhealthy behaviors; loving ourselves will.

We are grateful that our growth in our emotional health has taught us the difference between guilt and shame.  Guilt lets us feel remorse and sadness when our actions violate our values.  Guilt helps us know when we’ve acted badly; shame tells us we are bad.  Guilt gives us a way back to ourselves through making amends; shame leaves us hopeless.  To give in to shame and self-hatred only harms us and intensifies the power of our unhealthy behaviors.  There is a better way, and that’s to learn to love us.

Interpreting the Runes ~ Ehwaz ~ Movement ~ Progress ~ The Horse

Ehwaz is a rune of transit, transition and movement; of physical shifts, new dwelling places, new attitudes or new life. It also signifies movement in the sense of improving or bettering any situation.

With this rune, there is a sense of gradual development and steady progress, with the belief in slow growth through many shifts and changes.  This could apply to the growth of a business or to the development of a new idea. A relationship may need to undergo changes if it is to live and grow. Moral effort and steadfastness are called for when this rune of movement, another of the cycle runes is drawn. Let it be said with this affirmation, “As I cultivate my nature, all else follows.”

This rune Ehwaz is symbolized by the horse, and it signifies the bond between horse and rider. Bronze Age artifacts show a horse drawing the sun across the sky. Here, Ehwaz is saying, you have progressed far enough to fee a measure of safety in your place.

Now is the time to turn again and face the future reassured, ready to share the good fortune that comes your way. The sharing is significant since it relates to the sun’s power to foster life and illuminate all things with its light.

Ehwaz Reversed

Movement that appears to block. Be certain that what you are doing – or not doing – is timely. There are no missed opportunities. You have simply to recognize that not all possibilities are open to you, that not all opportunities are appropriate. The opportunity at hand may be precisely to avoid action. If you are feeling at a loss, unclear about the need to act, consider what is timely to your nature and remember this affirmation, “What is yours will come to you.”

Afraid of Dying

What I fear most about dying, is not knowing for sure where I’m going. I remember when I was in training as an orderly at a nursing home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the training instructor taught us to never just get behind the wheelchair of a patient and start pushing. She explained that while a resident is sitting in their wheelchair, perhaps even dozing off, that the initial start can frighten them half to death, and that not informing the resident beforehand like this, “I’m going to take you to the dining room now, Mr. Schmitz”, erodes the dignity of a resident. They may feel a loss of control.

Would mother Universe please tell me what it will be like? I have begun to form my concept. By working on this gradually, I’ve noticed that my anxiety over transitioning has lessened to a degree. My version that I’m comfortable with for now, goes something like this:

My version is much like what the renowned psychic, Sylvia Browne suggests in her books, which is gleaned from her own psychic journeys beyond with her spiritual guides and from her impressions during psychic readings. In her version, which I easily claim as my belief, is that the real transition itself is painless, and that there is no further attachment to this physical world in the mind.

A tremendous and brilliant white light is our Guide and we will have an overwhelming sense of trust and love in our Guide. Others who have gone before us are there to greet us. Even those beloved pets we lost are there! I’ll see my grandfathers, my mom, even my dogs Heidi, Jessie, and oh my dear CoCo. And my cats Samantha and Maya!

Everyone on the other side looks the way they did when they were around 35 years of age. Communication isn’t through words any longer but rather telepathically. There is a continuous beautiful melody of music everywhere. Time on the other side is different from this world that we know now. What we know as a lifetime to us here is a mere blink of the eye on the other side. Before we know it, those that we left in this world, are right behind us. 

It has been explained to me that we didn’t know where we were going when we were born, or came to this world, and that it is OK not knowing or fully understanding where we’re going when we make our transition. That’s something I’ll have to work on; trusting in mother Universe’s ability to take care of me. Even the last leg of life’s journey is packed full with lessons. Right up until the bell sounds for the next class to begin.

I Quit

dontsmoke

“I quit smoking.”  — Me

I’ve done it!

I’ve considered myself to be a smoker since the age of twelve.  My cousin Randy and I would sneak cigarettes from our parents and smoke them as we walked to school each morning.  Back then, cigarettes cost no more that seventy-five cents from the vending machine at the local bowling alley.

By the time I was fourteen years-old, my parents had grown tired of trying to stop me from smoking and allowed me to smoke openly.  My mother would even buy cigarettes for me when she went to the grocery store.  I smoked and smoked and smoked.

There have been occasions in my life when I have been able to quit; usually because of illness of some sort (usually upper respiratory since I am asthmatic) or because of a new commitment to overall health.  It has been nearly 2 months since my last cigarette.  This time my reasons do include health concerns, mortality and cost.  The price one pays for cigarettes now, with all of the various taxes, has become prohibitive.

My home smells better, my senses already seem more aware to smell and taste.  Soon, I know I will also be able to claim better health and longer life.

 

In Memory of My Other Mom, Dorothy

January 23 is the “death day” of my second Mom. Dorothy Eshenbaugh was the step-grandmother of my last partner. I’ve blogged about Dorothy on many occasions. During our brief five years as my “Mother-there-ought-to-be-a-law,” we experienced a lot of life together; there were ups and many downs. But the love between Dorothy and I was always stable. We had a hell of a lot of fun together; we played a lot of Dominoes, laughed our asses off, and cried some too. We’d get mad at one another, like everyone does, but it never lasted for very long. She always knew the easiest way to solve a family argument would be through me and not her step-grandson. Dorothy didn’t like it when we weren’t talking. I remember how she would often hold my hands and those of my partner’s in hers and she’d say; “Now fella’s we have to stick together. We’re all we’ve got as family goes.” You see, Dorothy had a respect for communication between family members. Dorothy was in end stage renal failure, and hadn’t spoken in a few years to her sister, Betty or her mother. But Dorothy and I worked on a beautiful letter that she mailed to her sister so proudly one day. Dorothy was going to put an end to the silence.

Dorothy hardly gave the envelope enough time to get through her own post office before she started checking her mail for a response from her Betty or mother. Then, weeks went by and then months. Dorothy’s sad attitude gradually lifted and she shrugged it off and said, “Wasn’t meant to be I guess.”

Dorothy died on January 23, 2008 of end stage renal failure. I often feared that when the end would come for her that she’d be alone; I knew that was one of her biggest fears as well. When she transitioned from our earth, her beloved companion Rascal was at her side. Dorothy joked that Rascal in a strange way looked a bit like her deceased husband, Robert, who was the love of Dorothy’s life! You know, I never could really disagree with her! I think somehow Robert reincarnated into that dog!

My former partner and I knew that Dorothy’s prognosis didn’t assure us any real definitive time with her before the end would come. So, we made every birthday and holiday as special as we could for her. In the five years that Dorothy was in my life, she lived life. She went to church every Sunday and put in a prayer request for my ex and me every Sunday as well. Dorothy was a good mother to me, at a time when I didn’t have one. My own mother died many years before I met Dorothy. When Dorothy learned my mother was deceased, I could see how she put herself in that role for me. I never complained one bit. It felt nice to be loved again in that way that only a mother can.

I know Dorothy is at rest and still living fully in another plane of existence with her beloved Robert. These beautiful memories I hold of our time together and knowing that Dorothy is once again reunited with her husband who she loved so much, make it easier each day to feel a little less pain about the loss and the feeling of that space filled by joy and happiness that things are as they should be.

Dorothy’s mother and sister eventually learned of her death. I always knew and felt so strongly that someday, even though my former partner and I were no longer together, that I would, in some way shoulder the responsibility of informing them of  the details of their family member’s demise.  The situation did unfold that way as my ex-partner never told them. When Betty reached me and I had given some of the details of Dorothy’s life those last few years, I inquired about that damn letter, which, they never received. Dorothy’s sister Betty and I have, through this odd process, become a unique pair of friends. Good friends in fact. We’ve never met in person (at least not yet anyway) and most of our communication is through email. Betty and I have a connection though. I have made a personal commitment to myself that this summer, I am going to make a trip to the small Texas town Betty and her family lives in, and have an opportunity to meet them all. In a strange way, they already feel like family to me. I almost found myself writing to Betty the other day, “We’ve got to stick together Betty, we’re all we’ve got you know…”  I know Dorothy is smiling as she’s standing next to her Robert, as she watches the friendship form between us.

To Dorothy, I send wishes of eternal peace, love and happiness, and all the “Robert time” possible.  Before you know it Mom, someday you’re going to realize I’m there with you too, and then you better get out a good set of Dominoes, OK?  Love you so much, Mom.

Your son,

Mark.

 

2011 Pagan and Wiccan Celebration Calendar

“The Wheel of the Year”

 

The Eight Wiccan and Pagan sabbats are ancient holidays that modern Witches and Pagans celebrate still today with feasting, ritual, magic and camaraderie. Each festival offers a captivating opportunity for the Wiccan magic spells and Pagan rituals best suited to the season. Many Wiccans and Pagans choose to begin the celebration of these holidays at sundown the day before the dates given below.

Wiccan and Pagan Sabbats and the Seasons

Each of these hallmarks of the Wheel of the Year has its own special feeling in large part due to the close association between Wicca and Paganism in the natural world and its seasons. For some it is found curious that the dates of the sabbats are reversed in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres however this is to show this close association between the Wiccan faith and the seasons. Some Wiccans and Pagans slightly alter the dates the Sabbat of Imbolc which marks the return of Spring, to show local seasonal variations.

The Sabbat of Imbolc

Imbolc is celebrated February 2, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere and August 1, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere. Imbolc is a time of renewal and celebration for the Wiccan and Pagan community. Celebrate the return of spring with these Imbolc Spells and Rituals.

The Sabbat of Ostara at the Spring Equinox

The Spring Equinox’s Ostara, (Wiccan Easter), takes place March 20, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere, and September 23, 2011 in the South. Ostara is a time of growth symbolized by the Spring Hare.

The Sabbat of Beltane

May 1, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere and November 1, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere, Beltane is a festival of fertility symbolized by the union of the God and Goddess. Fires, socializing and being in nature are all fitting celebrations at this time.

The Sabbat of Litha at the Summer Solstice

Litha or the Summer Solstice falls on June 21, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere and December 22, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere. The Pagan and Wiccan Festival of Litha is an important point in the Wheel of the Year; a time for celebration of the abundance of summer, as well as time to prepare for the darkening to come.

The Sabbat of Lughnasadh or Lammas

Lughnasadh or Lammas falls on August 1, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere, and February 2, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere. The Celtic Festival of Lughnasadh or Lammas celebrates the fertility of the harvest while offering Wiccans and Pagans the opportunity to start change in their lives.

The Sabbat of Mabon at the Fall Equinox

The Autumn Equinox festival of Mabon is September 23, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere and March 20, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere. The Sabbat of Mabon is time of harmony marking the beginning of the turning within for inner spiritual work over the winter.

The Sabbat of Samhain

The day of Samhain is November 1, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere, and May 1, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere, however the Wiccan celebrations of Samhain often begin a sundown on the day before these dates. Samhain is a wonderful time for magic and ritual along the more familiar celebrations of Halloween.

The Sabbat of Yule at the Winter Solstice

The Sabbat of Yule falls on the Winter solstice on December 22, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere, and on June 21, 2011 in the Southern Hemisphere. Wiccans choose what to take with them into the New Year, and what to leave behind at the evocative and magical festival of Yule, the Winter Solstice Wicca and Pagan Festival.

Together, Pagans and Wiccans collectively feel the inherent meaning associated with the sabbats. The interconnectedness with nature is celebrated by maintaining traditions and rites that date from centuries past.

 

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