I've been pondering the root chakra recently and what it's symbolism means (or at least what it means to me).
There are four petals on the root chakra flower. Four is the foundation. It is the four pillars that support the world. It is the four directions of the circle and the four elements.
But what else is related to it. I'm sure I'm only scratching the surface here but I also link FFFF (or Flags, Flax, Fodder and Frigg) to the root chakra. Mainly because the root chakra is all about our basic needs and the traditional witchcraft phrase is all about that. If we have shelter, clothing, food and sex/love (yes sex is important too) then we will be satisfied. Our basic needs will be met.
I've been focusing on my foundation - what do I need and what do I need to make myself feel safe, secure and grounded. Thing is, sex came up a lot - and I realised that sex is a basic need. I guess I thought it would be related to the sacral chakra, that sex is an emotional thing. But I guess I am misinterpreting what sex is. It still is a primal and physical need.
But these four basic needs are not the only needs. I would say financial security is important but you could say that links in with security about shelter, food and clothing.
I can definitely say that I do have some issues with my root chakra. There are areas where I feel insecure and others where I'm probably over compensating. Balance is always key.
For years I've been exploring the mystery plays of sabbats, looking at how various myths explore the meaning of each sabbat. Up until now this has been a valuable tool for learning, but now I'm learning to leave group learning to others and focus on my internal flame by learning my own truths.
I read recently that the Charge of the Goddess can be described as guidelines for living and is broken down into these eight areas - beauty, honour, mirth, power, strength, humility, reverence and compassion. These are the eight traits that we should cultivate within ourselves. They can also be equated with the sabbats, starting with beauty at Imbolc through to compassion at Yule.
So what does honour at Ostara really mean? To explore then linkages I looked at what both mean to me separately and found some wonderful connections.
Respect is the first thing that springs to mind - both yourself and others, because we are all spiritually connected. Respecting all means your mind, body, emotions and spirit.
It also means doing the right thing for yourself and others. A clear link between respect and morals is speaking right - watch your words, say only positive things and look for the good.
To honour is about keeping oaths - spiritually this means our oaths to the gods and the universe, but it can also mean our own life goals.
This is were Ostara's theme of balance comes in. We must balance all aspects of ourselves, of our lifes. We must realise that we are in balance with the world - we are one person in a sea of people, why would we be more important than them? But yet we must have a good self esteem too - so we are important to ourselves. It's a complicated balance.
Ostara also brings back the them of purity. This time we are throwing off the winter with vigour. We are cleaning, cleansing and removing all that is old.
We are energised and ready to take on new plans. Ostara is all about plans to me. We've thought long and hard about what we want since New Year and now it is time to put things into action. But we need to cultivate them, to mother them to grow properly.
The egg contains all potential. As part of its balance it is simultaneously birthing and gestation new ideas. It is opening and giving us that jolt of energy to start moving forward again yet asking us to put in our goals for the year into the egg so they can be nurtured. I suppose it links back to how very much we are within the womb of the goddess during the winter period. Perhaps we always are spiritually.
Lastly, it is all about joy - finding the joy in new things growing, in starting new projects, in being true and finding truth within ourselves.
And since the egg is the symbol of Ostara, here's the Circle of Earth's Ostara eggs.
I recently read that the altar is a reflection of your heart - or more correctly your heart chakra - as well as being the hearth of the goddess. I must admit, I have never thought about it like that.
To express your heart in line with the universe is a wonderful thing but to work the magick it needs to be often, if not daily. And I think that's correct - sometimes daily life can cloud your thoughts and your heart can darken because of how people have treated you and how annoyed you get with them.
I've never really done daily devotionals before although it is something I have been looking into. Years ago I discovered the Fellowship of Isis rituals but I've never trained in it. Since Isis is my goddess I thought I would give the daily rites - from Dea: rites ans mysteries of the goddess - a go. The rites focus heavily on healing and while I haven't been doing them for long I have realised that healing of the heart involves wishes love and healing on your enemies as well as your loved ones. A happy heart chakra isn't obtained by selective universal love, so this makes sense. And it also helps to put aside trival nonsense and helps subside more painful feelings too.
It's only been a few days since I've started the daily devotions so I think I've still got a lot to learn about them, but I am finding the healing aspect useful to correctly undesirable feelings, to letting go of hurt and allowing universal love - also known as perfect love - into my heart.
And if you're wondering - here is my altar.
Over the last two years I've been exploring discipline and how my actions affect my path. I had a feeling I needed to be controlled, to lock down some aspects I had opened in myself that seemed to be unruly. I found that certain parts of myself were speaking out of turn, being inappropriate and making me look bad and feel bad. So I thought I needed to learn how to discipline myself, to control my actions.
But my thoughts are now changing. I know think that I don't need to control myself but be in charge. I should be the one to decide what my actions are. I don't need to diminish myself but be my own leader. I decide what my path is and I don't need to kowtow to others. They may have their own opinions and while I don't need to block their opinions, I do need to assert my position. I do need to make sure my points are heard, but I do need to make sure these views are appropriate. But by deciding I am in charge of my actions instead of thinking I need to control my actions, I've changed my perspective and I've made major progress in making myself whole.
I'm on a journey to love my shadow self, to listen to what it is telling me and discover the secrets of myself - things that I've tried to hide but are trying to make themselves heard. By listening and integrating my shadow self I begin to make myself whole and to take a huge leap forward on my path.
Picture - the Earth Mother card (Empress in Rider-Waite tarot deck) which I drew as my card of the day and interpreted as a message that I needed to make myself whole by integrating my shadow.
It's taken me a long time to realise that I wasn't learning anything from experimenting with different traditions and spiritual practices all the time. Sure it was fun to learn different methods but because I wasn't practicing them for very long I wasn't deepening my understanding and so I wasn't really learning anything beyond the surface level.
Years ago I started various journals - such as a magickal journal and two workbooks on the sabbats and esbats - but I was never that disciplined at using them. I did for a few days at a time then months would go by with nothing.
And as I begin to look at my shadows as well as my light, I'm realising that daily journal writing looking deep within myself at my flaws and weaknesses is something that I am truly missing.
This weekend I spent an amazing few hours looking at what I had written previously in various old journals and jotters and rediscovering some of the jewels of my irregular practice. It's made me realise that it's about doing something well daily, even if it means only 10 minutes per day. There are a lot of flaws that I want to break down and rebuild into something that aids me instead of hindering me.
Shadow work is something I've always heard about but never really looked into until recently. I always assumed it meant working with dark spirits and it conjured up images of ceremonial magicians invoking daemons into triangular shaped spaces. But now I know it's not that. In fact, it could be scarier. It's about really looking at your own self, your soul, spirit and heart and challenging your behaviour. It's about admitting when you're wrong or you've done something badly. But it's not about blaming yourself. Instead it's about thinking how you can change yourself.
So as I look back at old journals and even realised that I might actually finish my current journal (something that rarely happens before I start again) I know that I can only really deepen my spirituality with a lot of regular journal writing and brutal honesty with myself.
Over the last few years I have struggled to come to terms with a lot of things in my life. I always knew that you make your own happiness, but I guess I always thought this would be easy. I know what you're thinking - what were you on? So naturally, it turns out making your own happiness isn't as simple as thinking positively - though it does help. It's also about delving deeply into your shadows and working to bring them into the light.
So at Yule I was given a nice new tarot set. And after I marvelled at their beauty I thought "what am I going to do with two tarot card decks?" You see, I've had a set for a long time and used them during circle but not all the time. I guess I figured I only needed to ask questions when I didn't know what to do, so they never got used for anything else.
For some reason I started off pulling one card out at a time and seeing what message that would have for me. And I've been surprised by the results. It's lead me to understandings - both about my life and the tarot card meaning - that I might never have truly considered. I've realised that this simple act - followed with some pathworking meditation later in the day - is telling me much more than my reflection time in my journal alone. I'm still using the journal to reflect, but it's not just about day to day issues or even my long term goals, it's also reflecting on the harder questions most of us choose to ignore.
Some of the revelations have been truly remarkable - such as the ten of chalices, which mist people who assume meant only good things, turning out to indicate family pain and isolation. I won't go into it here - and it's not as bad as it sounds as all families have issues - but I would never have said anything negative about that card before that experience. Things are not always what they seem.
However, it's made me realise that I need to learn about control and discipline for myself - I need to learn how to let go when it's best to do this and when to focus my energies. I need to gain respect by proving myself rather than expecting it.
I think I have finally realised that I need to face my shadow side and really look at myself. Balancing the light and the shadow will be a major focus of 2015 for me.
So, this leads me to looking at things differently. I'd always stayed away from the Celtic Tree Calendar as it only lasts 28 days per month and I couldn't see the value in this since the waxing and waning cycle of the moon is 30 days (approx). My studies in astrology have shown me that it is a moon calendar, just not of the waxing and waning phases, but of the moon's journey around the zodiac.
As I focus more on shamanic elements to the craft, I'm finding the use of trees more important to me. The circle has begun to take on shamanic elements by calling on the world tree during ritual and I'd like to go further down this path.
The Birch Moon month runs from 24 December to 20 January and I will use this time to purifying and cleanse myself from the old year and make plans for 2015.
I hope everyone has a great New Year. See you in 2015.
Our ritual was very emotional but in a good way. We gave a lot of focus on our Ancestors and shared our dumb supper with them. Our broth and bread was meant to be a simple meal anyway, so I was surprised when people said they actually liked it. We also shared some apples and pomegranates too.
There were a lot of Fae energies about and I can't blame them. It is the time of the Unseelie. They were making us much up our words and things didn't flow as well as they might have, but we just go with it. It usually ends up teaching us a little more about our magical practice if we do just go with it.
After our three rounds of toasts, boasts and a ghost, where we told stories about our loved ones who have passed over, it was time to quickly pack up - the rain started to get very heavy and darkness was looming.
Most of us were heading to a Samhain party later with other pagan friends, so although we didn't get our usual pub trip into the end of our ritual day, we did have lots of fun dressing up.
Happy Samhain. May the New Year bright blessings to you.
It's been a fair wee while since I've written anything in this blog, but the circle is still very active. In fact, it's even more active than before, but more on that later.
Samhain is coming. I'm very excited. For the first time we are doing a descent of the Goddess ritual for this sabbat. Normally we do it for Mabon, but we focussed on the God last time round so that leaves this little gem for our Samhain ritual.
The circle have painted Samhain lanterns, which will go round the outside of the circle and at the Underworld gate. We'll also hold a dumb supper with our ancestors.
Magically, we will be releasing our burdens through the use of cords as this will for a focus will we are in the Underworld (and a link to the Goddess in her bounds for some of our new members).
Hopefully I can get a few pics from the ritual and I'll post them up here.
It's always fun, vibrant and energetic. I can't wait to see how it plays out this year.