Vol. 3 – Issue 2
Musings From the Mystic Path
The Month of June
Welcome to June and longer days of sunlight, heat and outdoor adventures. We weathered a particularly intense Winter and Spring was a long time coming. But, now, there is no doubt that Summer Sun is shining down enlivening and quickening our spirits and bodies.
Our issue for this month is reflective of that enlivening and focused light. In the Featured Writings section an article about polarities will give you pause to consider all that interacts within and around us in tandem and opposition with one another. Tesseract offers guidelines for creating a Prosperity bottle and Journey’s on the Yogi’s Magick Mat speaks to the practice of fiery Kundalini Yoga.
I’ve decided to take a break this month with the Seeker’s on the Path column and spend some time outside renewing and just breathing from an overly packed schedule. So, take us on the go and get yourself outside and connect with sunny nature. Happy June!
“June has never looked more beautiful than she does now, unadorned and honest, vulnerable yet invincible.”
– Marie Lu –
Gently, you approach, strolling quietly through the trees.
Slender legs carefully carry you around obstacles in your path.
You pause and listen, ears twitching as you search for danger.
The wind carries only the familiar sounds of the forest to you;
Comforted you continue to amble down the path.
Lush green leaves catch you eye and you stop to taste them.
A patch of soft grass beckons, blades fluttering gently in the breeze, and you stop to rest.
Eyes closed you turn your face to the sun, basking peacefully in the gentle heat.
You are blissfully unaware of the voyeur admiring you through the window; contentedly sharing this moment of sublime peace with you.
A branch cracks loudly, startling us both out of our revery.
In a flash you are up and running, agilely leaping over logs and rocks as you bound back up the trail, heading deeper into the woods.
Soon you are hidden from my sight, your graceful beauty but a memory in my mind.
“Be well my friend,” I quietly call to you. “May you always feel safe in this land we share. Be well and come back again!”
“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the fragrant grassy hillside.”
– Maud Lovelace –
I have been thinking about polarities lately. I came across something that asserted that it is better to give than receive and I found that I had a visceral reaction: no, it is not better! So I spend some time thinking on this topic and here are some of my thoughts on giving/receiving and other polarities this brings to my mind.
It is better to give than receive, or so it says in the Christian Bible (Acts 20:35). According to this approach, we ought to give (of ourselves, or our time, or some material goods) so that we would be blessed. In other words, earning our Brownie points and so that we may ultimately end up in Heaven. That is why we do good, isn’t it, for the final outcome?
I question this premise. To me, the idea that it is better to give than receive negates both the giver (as if the gift were given only to earn blessings), and the receiver (who is there only to make the giver feel good about himself). This is an unequal power dynamic in this scenario, as if the receiver were an empty and passive vessel awaiting the gifts the giver feels like giving, to the larger benefit of the giver: after all, an eternal reward outweighs the momentary delight of the present being given, right?
Some use these attributes as equivalent: passive, receptive, accepting: Female
And these: active, offering, giving: Male
It is the act of offering and giving that is bestows blessings in this ancient saying. I say that the act of receiving is also a source of blessings. To be passive and receptive is to be open, accepting, and willing to take what is offered: this is trust and to me, this is of at least an equal value to giving.
Sweat lodge: Dark; interior / Full moon healing ritual: light, exposed.
I have experienced sweat lodges in three different locations. My first sweat lodge was at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival in a small town in western Michigan. It was held by a Native American woman; it was, as far as I know, a traditional Native sweat lodge. It was some 25 years ago. What I remember was that the fire was lit, the stones were heated, we chanted, then the hot stones were brought into the lodge and then we entered with the water pourer. After we all entered, the fire tender came in with us. And we stayed in the lodge until we (and the ceremony) was finished. One could say what one wanted to, when one wanted to. It was crowded and hot and revealing and dark and sweaty and dirty. And I was hooked. I loved every minute of it. I loved being stripped raw of clothing, inhibitions, uncertainty, the idea that my precious wounds and worries were mine alone. I felt a commonality with those who endured the lodge with me: we were willing to work hard to let go of pain. I emerged, changed, tired, relieved, and ready to accept that I, too, have courage.
The next sweat lodge I attended was some 20 years later. It was at Seelie Court and it was run by water pourers and fire tenders who had been trained in traditional sweat lodge protocol and adapted with Wiccan protocols developed by people within the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel. These sweats are not officially part of the ASW. I have been attending Sweat Lodge at Seelie Court for about 8 years, either sweating inside the lodge during the ceremony, or helping the fire tenders and water pourers with various tasks, such as fetching kindling, fire wood, water, washing towels, whatever needed to be done to assist.
I have also participated in sweat lodge at Free Spirit Gathering, and free-wheeling gathering of people walking all kinds of paths, such as wiccans, heathens, druids, pagans, vodouisants, santeras, polytheists, monotheists, pantheists, atheists, etc., according to their web site. This sweat lodge took place on a hot day in June. The Seelie Court sweat lodges are typically held during the winter months. It was more of a physical challenge than I liked: it was not possible to cool off adequately after the sweat.
The interior of sweat lodges is dark; at the ones held at Seelie Court, attempts are made so that not a crack in the covering lets in outside light. The only light is from the glow of the hot stones centered in the fire pit. It is the light within the dark. It is not physically possible to see the other participants who are sharing that day’s sweat lodge with you. Before we enter the Lodge, we had seen the fire being laid, built up, ignited, and tended. We had blessed the stones and put then into the fire to heat up. We had seen the fire blaze up, but we enter into the darkness when we enter the sweat lodge.
It is in darkness that we chant to the elements, hear the words of the water pourer, and then begin the rounds of sharing, each of which is blessed by an element: air, fire, water, earth, spirit. We ask for help in turn for letting go of what no longer serves us, and how to gain that which we need in the next step in our individual journeys. We pass the talking stone between us; when one holds the stone, that person speaks and the others are silent. When one is finished speaking, they pass the talking stone to the next person in the circle. Sometimes it is hard to find the hand of the next person: you have to reach out and find them in the darkness. Someone it there, reaching out to you, and the connection is made. The stone is passed and then the next person speaks.
After each round at the Seelie Court sweats, the blanket that covers the entrance is lifted so that fresh air can come in, the water gourd is refilled, and more hot stones can be brought in to refill the center stone pit. And we can see light for a few moments. Then the blanket is pulled down and the entrance is closed, and we are together in the dark.
The sweat lodge experience is for me, one of going inward. Diving deep into myself: no one can see me cry or look anxious. It is possible to forget who is in lodge with me since all I have to identify them is the sound of their voice and their spiritual energy, which is being transformed moment by moment by participating in the Sweat Lodge. Sometimes I forget where I am in terms of place and time: I am in the dark, surrendering to trust, the elements, the ancient ones: the stones who give their lives in service to the sweat lodge; the water pourer, the fire tenders, and Spirit. All I have to do is be present in the moment, open myself up, and let in, accept, receive the healing. This vulnerability brings me to power. My Self, all of my selves, are stepping into personal power through this stripping down into rawness. This passivity, receptivity, openness, are my power. I am reborn, each time I enter and emerge from the Sweat Lodge, the cauldron of rebirth.
I attended my first full moon healing ritual in March 2018. This ritual was presented by Grail of the Birch Moon, a coven within the ASW. This ritual was held on the night when a full moon rose in the sky. The altars were decorated with cloths recognizing the elements and candles were lit. A cauldron rested on the center altar. It contained darkness within the light of the ritual. The intent was to help each of us to lift ourselves and each other to the moon’s healing light. I witnessed some people go before me, to expose their desire for healing, to be willing to be assisted in that healing, to be lifted to the light of the full Moon in her glory.
When it was my turn, I gathered up my courage, and stated that I wanted healing with being able to move from being a victim to being present, and not even being a survivor, but to be able to be here, now, and be myself fully. I exposed a vulnerability in that I admitted that I was a survivor of some trauma, that I felt trapped in that past identity, and that I wanted to move forward into a state of Being, simply Being, and I asked for help. The community that was gathered together chanted, sent healing energy to me, and lifted me up to the full Moon’s light. I felt transformed: later that week, I signed up to return to my college campus for my 40-year reunion, the first I will have attended, since I avoided the campus since I experienced an assault there when I was there as an undergraduate student. As a sister in my Coven reminded me, I stepped into my power by doing this.
For me, being receptive and open brought me to a place of personal empowerment. It was good, too, to be giving in participating in sharing energy with the others who were asking for healing. And it has been good for me to go inward, into the darkness of the Sweat Lodge, and outward, into the light of the Moon. Active, passive. Giving, receiving. Light, darkness. Polarities are not opposites, they are points on a balance beam that pivots on a fulcrum. Each is necessary to the other, neither can exist without the other. It is not better to give than to receive: it is better to bring both into one’s life. This is a power dynamic, and a powerful one. So mote it be.
“At midnight, in the month of June, I stand
beneath the mystic moon.”
– Edgar Allen Poe –
The heat blazes down like
Lava finding its course from
Molten mouth that gapes wide
Open in a fiery yawn.
Sweat forms like a strand of pearls
Around my neck and forehead
I feel alive and powerful
I am pulsing with life that is
Both hot and sweet in its embrace.
I surrender to the flow of warmth
As strength and vitality move through me
Etching out their course in wet furrow
Of brow and shoulder blade.
The sun hangs overhead in full glory
No eyes may see its blinding beauty
We turn away and close lids that are
Still not able to veil its mysteries.
The heat blazes all around and
All of the world rejoices in Summer’s kiss.
“Keep your face to the sun and you will
never see the shadows.”
– Helen Keller –
The Mantle of Breath
How can I keep me and mine safe? How can I call forth a protection for myself or my loved ones? What do I hold dear and true? I ponder and think on that and think hard on how I want these dear ones to be safe in this world. Keep myself grounded, centered and when I find myself out of kilter. I begin to breathe, slowly, deeply and remember, it all begins with the breath.
My many teachers keep bringing me back to this truth. It all begins with the breath. That is how I center, how I bring earth and celestial energy into myself, allowing it to mix together, and ground me in the here and now. Breath is what keeps supplying oxygen, so I continue to live.
Breath is how life begins and losing life, how it ends. Breath is what kindles the embers back into a flame, when more fuel is added to the fires. Breath is what sustains, when it is necessary to exhale sharply, and bite back a stinging retort. Breath is what is blown into a soap bubble to bring joy to a child’s face, no matter what age that child is. Breath simply is….
I breathe, ground and center and I begin to send out layers of shields, to wrap around myself, allowing positive energy to penetrate them and repelling the negative energy. Be aware, breathe and listen to the symphony that is life, listen to the inhalations and the exhalations of the universe. Breathe.
The quiet stars came out, one after one;
The holy twilight fell upon the sea,
The summer day was done.”
– Celia Thaxter –
The Intersection of Moon Phase, Astrology, Elemental Energy, and Magick
And so we arrive at June. Welcome to warmth, sunshine, blooming flowers, moist air. Open windows, more free time. Squishy mud underfoot after a spring rain. Frogs courting, loudly, in puddles. Time to celebrate the Solstice, the day that marks the beginning of summer. Summer Solstice is one of the quarter days of the Wheel of the Year: Spring and Fall Equinoxes are when day light and night time are of equal length, and the Summer and Winter Solstices are the longest and shortest days in terms of the amount of time the shining sun is visible to us.
At 6:07 am on June 21 2018, the summer solstice begins. We will have 15 hours and 35 seconds of daylight. After this one day, the amount of daylight decreases incrementally until we arrive at the Winter Solstice, during which we will have just over 9 hours of daylight. And so the wheel turns, never ending….
This year, the summer solstice will arrive while the Moon is one day past its first quarter phase; it will be waxing gibbous and in the cardinal air sign of Libra. This expanding Moon light reflects the expanding sun light with the influence of Libra’s love of shining light on new ideas, new possibilities, the potentialities of something coming through that is new and good and harmonious and for the betterment of all.
Be open to possibilities – go outside and smell the glorious growth all around. In June, it is a wonderful time to smell the roses. They are blooming now and scenting the air with their fragrance. This brings to my mind the poem by Robert Herrick; here are a couple of stanzas:
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
Robert Herrick, 1591 – 1674
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
This is a time of plenty. To partake in the bounty, this is a good time to create a Prosperity Bottle. Capture the essence of this time so that you can tap into it as the need arises. Here is one way to start a prosperity bottle.
Gather your supplies
Bottle or jar that is clean and empty
Small candle that will fit into the bottle, gold or yellow or green
Piece of cinnamon stick
Money: two pennies, one nickel, one dime, one quarter, and one dollar bill
Piece of paper
Small length of green string
I am using an empty whisky bottle that was given to me (full!) as a gift from a very generous friend. It must have a lid or a cap or some way to keep it closed. You will be filling the container with various objects that attracts wealth, prosperity, good luck, and that will light the way for the best outcome for all.
The small candle will light the way to prosperity.
Cinnamon is an earthy spice that evokes the abundance of our manifest realm.
Rose petals remind us of the vast beauty of summer.
Money is there since like attracts like. Also, in terms of numerology, this collection of coins adds up to the number 6, a good number for abundance.
Pennies = 2
Nickel = 5
Quarter = 25
Dollar = 1
2 + 5 + 25 + 1 = 33, then 3 +3 = 6
The piece of paper is there for you to write your intentions on, roll into a scroll, and tie with green string.
The white candle will be used to seal the lid of the prosperity bottle after you have filled it with the magickal items and your intentions.
It is effective to begin a spell to bring abundance to yourself during the time of the Moon phase when its light is expanding. At the summer solstice, the waxing gibbous Moon, along with the full day of sun light, will shine on your bright intentions.
Gather your supplies together so that you can begin your prosperity bottle on the night of the summer solstice. To begin, light the white candle and sit quietly in a space where you won’t be disturbed. Think within yourself why you want to attract prosperity to yourself. To enrich yourself? To give to others? To be able to support someone else? To help you on a way to create something new or beautiful? To move away from dependence on someone else? Be clear in your intentions. If can, clarify your intentions to just a few words or a symbol. Write that symbol or few words on the piece of paper. Roll the paper into a scroll and tie it with the green string. Drop it into the empty bottle.
Next, keeping in mind your intention, gather together the rose petals and drop them into the bottle, visualizing the abundance of a beautiful summer day. Drop in the cinnamon stick, and remember that all we have, comes from the earth. Drop in the unlit small candle and remember the feeling of the sun’s warmth bringing light and growth and abundance.
Here we come to the step that involves money. We have to give out what we want to receive. You must be willing to part with this money so that you can open the door to more money coming into your life. One by one, drop in the coins and then the paper bill. One penny, next penny, then the nickel, the dime, the quarter, and then top it off with the dollar bill. It must be in this order: from small denomination, to larger, larger, and larger, until we reach the paper step. Money builds on money; money creates money.
Once your prosperity bottle is filled, then you twist on its cap. Take up the white candle that has been burning all this time. Pour some of the melted wax onto the cap of the prosperity bottle. Let the wax drip down over the lid, sealing it shut. When you feel complete, blow out the candle. Sit in the dark for a moment, and feel the changes coming to you. Prosperity is on its way to you.
The prosperity bottle will keep working as long as you keep refilling it with your energies and intentions. When you think of it, pick it up, shake it, remind yourself of why you need more money right now, and send energy through it. Especially at the time of the waxing gibbous Moon, take time to pick up your bottle and remind yourself and it what good you will do with the extra money coming your way.
So mote it be.
“No price is set on the lavish summer;
June may be had by the poorest comer.”
– James Russell Lowell –
Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat
” Every Posture Is a Journey Not a Destination “
The daffodils and forcynthia blooms have passed. The days are certainly warmer here in the northern hemisphere. Soon we will transition from the peonies to the hibiscuses. Spring’ s infant birds are almost through their parents’ flying lessons as we approach summer. And this can be a fantastic time to try a kundalini yoga class, wherein you can tap into the full powers of life and creativity that are fast approaching. It is an fiery experience designed to awaken you!
There are many benefits to utilizing this practice at this time of year with rising heat, energy, and potential. Many of us have fine tuned and focused the work of the winter season. We have gone through a spring cleaning or detox. Now, with fierce, vibrant energy we can open to our own light; meet and be with our true self. This yoga practice can facilitate Purusha, a connection to our true internal, never changing self.
Kundalini yoga is a blending of different types of yoga includes breath work, chanting, meditation, and physical practice. The method has morphed over time; but was first introduced into the western world by Yogi Bhajan. He was born Harbhajan Singh Khalsa in India. Being in a wealthy family allowed him the privilege of studying and mastering yoga at a very early age. Thankfully, he followed his calling and eventually moved to Canada and the US, to teach the spiritual practice and discipline of yoga.
Kundalini is a Sanskrit word, one of its meanings being circular. Kundalini yoga is a practice that not only raises body awareness; it also stimulates very dormant, powerful energy within the body. It usually begins with a “tuning in” using chanting. Then by focusing breath work and employing physical movements; channels and pathways are opened. The work detoxifies organs and releases stagnation in their systems, as well as in the mind and energetic fields. All this to prepare oneself to handle the eventual release and outpouring of energy that sits coiled at the base of the spine. Kundal is “a spiritual energy or life force living at the base of the spine”. It is an ecstatic practice to increase consciousness. It is a journey back to your divinity. It can be mind blowing to experience and truly indescribable.
I do find this practice to be a challenge. You sweat, you move, you chant, you focus. But somewhere in your surrender, comes the reward! It can be subtle shifts towards a healthier version of yourself or an eruption of raw, powerful sensations that will take you to your knees if you are not already there. Kundalini yoga, with its vast array of teachings, will circle you back to your own brilliant divine, radiant center. You won’t need sunscreen, but you will definitely feel the heat! …..Namaste…. M.Q.
First Steps on the Seeker’s Path
I’m taking this month off to renew and refine what is needed for the next half of the year. Go outside in the brilliant light, greet the Sun. Sit in the shade and feel the quiet rest that rejuvenates. Walk a path of green and fill each step as a meditation in greeting the Earth Mother. Savor the sweetness of family, friends and time that languishes in the enveloping warm embrace of Summer’s bounty.
“Mine is the Month of Roses; yes, and mine
The Month of Marriages! All pleasant sights
And scents, the fragrance of the blossoming vine,
The foliage of the valleys and the heights.
Mine are the longest days, the loveliest nights;
The mower’s scythe makes music to my ear;
I am the mother of all dear delights;
I am the fairest daughter of the year.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow –
Upcoming Events – 2018
Temple of the Sun Series: Part Three
Illuminated Ritual: Creating the Sacred
3-wks.on Tuesday Evenings
For more information. Click here…
Celebration of the Summer Solstice: A Ritual for Amun-RA
Celebrate the longest day of the year as we stand at the Gates of the Temple of Amun-RA and receive the blessings of the luminaries. For more information. Click here…
Musings From the Mystic Path is published monthly by Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW.
Editor: R. Fennelly, HPs, CMP, ASW
Columnists: L. B., Tesseract and India Amour, Journeys on the Yogi’s Magick Mat
Contributors: Membership/Petitioners of Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW
All rights reserved and maintained as intellectual property of the author. If you would like to re-publish any content herein, permission should be obtained and proper citation given to the author.
Stock photos, unless otherwise noted
For more information about the contents of the newsletter and/or our coven:
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