Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Personal Goals, Magick and Anger

Greetings!
A few years ago I made a radical change in my life. I lost 60 pounds and kept them off for three years. I was so proud of myself and happy with my new style of healthier living. Then  something happened that threw my carefully laid plans and all my hard work for a loop. Menopause. I had been dealing with peri-menopause for the past couple of years and then the classic menopause symptoms began this year. Hot flashes, irregular cycles, then none at all, mood swings, fatigue, my hair texture changed, my complexion changed, and then the most dreaded of all menopause symptoms. (Cue scary music here.) Weight gain.

Well crap. Fifteen pounds back on my frame and it happened so damn fast that it freaked me out. Asked my doctor about it and she said, and I quote, “Welcome to menopause. You’re lucky it was only 15 pounds. Most women gain 25 to 30 pounds. Keep up with that working out and you won’t gain any more.” I left the office feeling deflated and for a few months I figured- Okay, this is just the way its going to be now. It was really depressing. And I admit it- I felt sorry for myself and wallowed in that for a good three months.

Then something wonderful happened. I got mad. Why should I just accept that “Oh this is the way I’m going to look now- because of menopause.” The pretty new clothes I worked so hard to get into are now tight and uncomfortable... But oh well, its just menopause. Wow, I’m so unhappy with all the dramas and delays with my current project. Oh well I’m just stressed out, bitchy, and off kilter because of menopause. It became my go-to excuse. And then something magickal happened...

I got angry. Wicked Witch, table for one please! So, I embraced my anger and really looked at all the BS in my life. Took myself to task for the way I was letting other people and their actions affect me. Yeah the hormonal changes weren't helping but damn it was I a Witch or not? And then I asked myself: Why was I letting the dreaded “M” word rule my life?

Everyday felt like a roller coaster and I decided to try and work with the ups and the downs instead of just white-knuckling it through the mood swings and the physical changes as I was taken along for the ride.

So during the month of August I started thinking about what I wanted to do about it all. It took me a couple of weeks and some dark chocolate- to work everything out in my head and I started the ghastly process of going back to a strict diet. I do know how… I did it three years ago, but by the Goddess you forget- or you block it out- just how much of a pain in the ass the first weeks on a portion controled- healthy diet are. You have to wrap your mind around food in a completely different way, and that takes time. But It's begun. Things can only get better from here.

I am a stereotypical Virgo- and I do best with a plan and a goal in mind. My goal is to loose 5 pounds in the next two months. So my pretty purple dress I bought for the Witches Ball will look even better on. It fits beautifully now, but 5 pounds lost would be great. I figure that’s a realistic goal as I have been warned that loosing weight now will be twice as hard than it was before, because of the hormonal changes… but damn it. I am going to give it my best shot.

Keeping my theme of "You can do this- you have done it before!" firmly in mind I pulled out my book, Book of Witchery and worked my own ritual for weight loss. The ritual is on pages 32-35 if you want to take a look at it. This was the ritual I had created for myself three years ago and it worked so well then that I included it in that book. Seemed to me it was time to remind myself to think and react like a Witch. In other words: “Do the work and back it up with Magick.”

I called one of my best Witch friends yesterday and he and I talked on the phone for about an hour. We traded war stories about writing, touring, and teaching. We laughed our asses off. He made some good suggestions for me to try on a magickal level as I work through “The Change” and  I am going to implement them.

We also talked about anger and how it can color your magick and sneak into your life, so I am working on that as well. I always tell my own students to be business like when casting spells and to not cast if you are experiencing wild swings of emotion, or anger. Well, maybe I should put a rider in there: “Unless you are going through menopause- then all bets are off.” Ha- ha. (Yes I am joking, please don’t shoot me an email reminding me about the rule of three and karma…)

So here we go, a Witch trying to loose weight and dealing with menopause. That’s enough to make most folks run for the hills in terror…

Wish me luck- I’ll keep you posted on how I do.

Blessed be, Ellen
PS. There is a smaller version "A Spell for Fitness and Health", in 7 Days of Magic. On page 22.
For the "Book of Witchery" I expanded the spell and turned it into a full out ritual.




Friday, August 19, 2011

The Season of Morning Glories

There is something bewitching about the late summer when the mornings are cool and the air is heavy with dew and humidity. The garden is shifting from the floral explosion of summer to the quiet of autumn. The tall garden phlox is fading, the coneflowers are going to seed- much to the delight of the goldfinches, and the brown-eyed Susan’s are making bright yellow clumps in the perennial beds. The ornamental grasses are lush, and the mums and sedum are plumping up, and getting ready to bloom in a month or so. This morning as I prepared to head out for my 2 mile morning walk I cut through the side gardens to discover that my morning glories were blooming.
Morning Glory Pentacle and morning glories in Ellen's garden
I admit to having a thing for morning glories. Especially the older heirloom varieties like ‘Grandpa Otts’. That deep purple variety with its five markings on the blossoms just makes me smile. Morning glories are also the birth flower for those folks who are, like me, born in the month of September. My affection for these magickal flowers is the reason that one of the Garden Witch Pentacles I designed feature morning glories. Morning glories are protective as is the five-pointed upright star in the center of the pentacle. Combining these symbols together strengthens the power of the magickal tool.

In the language of flowers morning glories remind you to “greet the new day”. Which I think is pretty appropriate.  Magickally, morning glories are naturally enchanting. The flowers and foliage may be worked into any type of protective spell. The vines may be used for bindings and banishings. Instead of using ribbon or string to bind a representation, you wrap it up in morning glory vines. The morning glory has the astrological association of Saturn making it ideal for protection magick.
Grandpa Ott's Morning Glory

Today I ship out the first batch of the Garden Witch Pentacles that I began selling online last week. At the moment I am in talks with two stores for them to feature these pentacles in their shops. I never imagined I would have wholesale orders for these but hey, why not?

If you are interested in purchasing a hand made pentacle for your very own, hop over to my website www.ellendugan.com and click on the “Garden Witch Pentacle” tab at the top of the page. Choose your design and order away. There are four designs to choose from. The payment is made through Paypal. It is secure, quick and simple. Each of these are made of 1 inch thick solid pine. Pine itself is a wood associated with the earth element- as is this magickal tool. The pentacles are cut by hand, sanded, wood burnt, by my husband- and then I hand paint, stain, seal and sign each one. It's a team effort. Brie the calico cat oversees the painting of each pentacle. (My challenge is to keep her from dipping her paws in the water I use to clean out the paint brushes.) Here are the four designs just below.

Garden Witch Pentacles! 5 Elements, Autumn Leaves, Red Rose, Morning Glories
I hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer. Each night the sun sets a little earlier, and nature gets ready to put on her colorful finale for the season. Greet each new day with a little magick and enjoy the summer while it lasts!
Blessed be, Ellen

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Perfect Love and Perfect Trust?

The phrase “perfect love and perfect trust”, is tossed around a lot in Witch circles. But What does this actually mean? In a ideal world it means that you work with a circle or group of fellow practitioners with affection, while possessing complete and utter confidence in them. That they will be honest, will have your back, that they have your best interests at heart, and that you will have no reason to fear any magick that may occur while in ritual together.

The words “perfect love and perfect trust” are also used as an answer. At an initiation ceremony. The seeker is blindfolded, and bound at the wrists and led into a ritual circle by their sponsor or mentor. The initiate is stopped at the threshold of the circle by the point of an athame, and challenged with  the following line, “It is better to rush upon this blade, than to enter the circle with fear in your heart. How do you enter?”  Classically the answer is, In perfect love and perfect trust.

Have you ever really stopped and thought about the phrase “perfect love and perfect trust”?  Because, there are times when you have to question and you should challenge authority, and not simply follow. Just because your High Priest/ess, friends, business colleague, boss, project leader, or local Witch community leader tells you to trust and to follow them blindly, does not mean you should start channeling your inner lemming. 

This goes for the mundane world as well as the Witch world. If all of your instincts are screaming that something is wrong at your job, and that things are not as they seem, and that someone else has hopes that you, or your project will fail. Or that it would benefit their own projects or job to stand by and watch you fail… Then you should listen to that inner voice, telling you that something is wrong.

If your stomach flips, or your gut tightens, while that inner voice is saying indignantly, “Hey, that is not right!” That is your survival instinct. Ignore that inner voice at your own peril. Bottom line? You should TRUST your own instincts and LOVE yourself enough to believe in your right to question authority, and/or to stand up for yourself.

Why should you gift someone with your trust if they have done absolutely nothing to earn it?  Why should you continue to trust an individual when they lie over and over again?  Why should you continue to believe in someone when you begin to see that this person has their own agenda? And who would be so foolish as to find themselves in that situation?

Well, we all would. We all hope for the best and wish that the people we work with in both magickal or mundane settings will be honorable, truthful and trustworthy.

Perfect Love is a fragile entity. It takes just the right environment to grow and to blossom and to thrive. With care and time- it does become strong. Perfect Trust is a hopeful thing, but it can be brutalized and or trampled on by other peoples egos, politics, agendas and jealousies.

Trust and love must be earned. It is never to be demanded. Trust is a gift and it takes time to unwrap it. Why would you give away your affection or your trust to another- just because someone else tells you that they are reputable, or a professional? Answer: You should not.

When it comes to Perfect Love and Perfect Trust, here is my advice: Love yourself enough to trust in your own decisions. Trust that the instincts you posses will help you to avoid, or to minimize problems both personally and professionally. And when in doubt, stop and consider the players, their agendas, and the overall situation, and then start asking questions. Don’t stop until you uncover the truth.

No one can demand that you “love” them or that you “trust” them without proving to you, by their actions, that they are worthy of that honor. Without love and trust there is no respect.

And perfect love, and perfect trust, has to be earned.

Respect yourself enough to ask questions and to stand up for yourself. You are worth it!

Blessed be, Ellen