You Want a Time Out! Meditation and Children

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 A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be part of a social-emotional program designed for early education. Its main focus was to help children to be mindful of their own and others emotions through teacher guided activities and meditation. The children were encouraged to practice meditations of body awareness, patience, and relaxation. As teachers, we ourselves were taught not only how to meditate (I was one up on the others there) but also how to encourage children to want to meditate. By using modeling instead of actual lessons, the children were not forced into learning meditation techniques all at once. This method of “teaching” through example provides a stress free and positive outcome for the child and laid the groundwork for later incorporating actual meditation techniques into the classroom.

There are many benefits from meditation for children, not only in the magickal world, but in everyday living as well. Meditation helps reduce stress, anxiety, and aggression. It improves concentration, memory, and creativity. Children who meditate show a better sense of awareness, relaxation, and an overall healthier mind and body. It’s also been thought to strengthen the immune system and can lower the risk of future health problems. As an early childhood educator, I have seen these benefits manifest first hand.

When given the opportunity to observe the meditative practices of an adult, children will most likely want to sit alongside you and imitate what you are doing. By giving your little Witch this opportunity to sit with you during your own meditation practices, they will begin to learn themselves. If you do not have a regular meditation practice, this is a great way to grow and experience mindfulness together.

Below is a technique that I have used in the classroom and in my Little Witches workshops.

A Basic Relaxation Technique for Children

I recommend beginning on your own in a quiet setting, choose a time before a meal or before bed, soon after your child will follow. For older children you can explain to them why you are sitting in silence.

Begin by asking your child if they would like to play a relaxing game with you. Continue only if they show interest. If they show no interest one day they may the following day. I recommend doing the technique yourself, the child will become interested after some time.

Sitting in a chair, ask your child to sit with his or her feet flat on the floor and hands on his/her knees. Using a gentle, slow voice, saying or something similar:

“Look for a spot on the wall that you would like to look at.”

This can be any spot the child chooses. Explain to your child to keep their feet flat on the floor and their hands on your knees.

“Breathe in nice and slow and let it out nice and slow. When you feel your body wants to get wiggly, just say in your head, it’s okay that you’re feeling wiggly.”

“Try to keep your eyes on the spot as long as you can.”

Do this for only a minute or two the first time, and expand by one to two minutes each session. A good practice to maintain is to not exceed your child’s age in the number of minutes you spend in a session.

FYI: Having a good meditation practice can help encourage children with self-awareness, to be themselves, and have a greater belief in their own potential.

Guided Meditation for the New Year: The Waning Moon

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I realized this morning that I have been so busy with “Casting Creative Magickal Circles” and prepping for the release of my upcoming book, “A Modern Witch’s Curriculum” that I have not paid much attention to my blog, other than event sharing and promotion. There has been so much other stuff going on as well, besides the holiday craziness. Sadly, I recently had to conduct a memorial service for first teacher and Aunt who had passed in December.

Although, the new year has started off with sadness, I still feel confident that this year will hold some amazing possibilities. My usual practice of a tarot reading for the year to come has also revealed the same.

With the new year just starting out many of us have planned out our resolutions and spiritual goals for the year ahead. If you are one like me, allowing my guides to lead me in a direction that is right for me and my path. I find it hard to commit to set goals for the year, as I know they will change as I grow. I do however, continue with my commitment to myself as a Witch, such as gaining knowledge, doing something magickal every day, and continuing a regular meditation practice.

The guided meditation that follows is taken from my upcoming book, “A Modern Witch’s Curriculum”. It utilizes the waning moons energy of removal by visualizing the release of things we no longer want in our life. January’s waning moon is the perfect time for this type of release, as we want to focus on bring in something new for the year to come.

Waning Moon Guided Meditation

Begin by lighting a candle and incense of your choice. Turn off the lights. Close your eyes, make yourself comfortable and relax. Next begin to prepare for the meditation by breathing in deeply through your nose, filling your belly, hold for a count of three and exhale through your mouth. Do this three times, or until you feel relaxed, centered and open.

Feel the room around you; acknowledge the glow of the candle and the scent of incense.

As you breathe in, begin to visualize the light of the candle growing and surrounding you and begin to create a bubble of light around you. This bubble will protect you on your journey.

The light now begins to enter your body through your skin.

Where the light enters you begin to feel a tingling sensation and it starts to encompass your whole body.

In your mind, begin to stand up and walk toward the door that leaves your home.

As you open the door, you can see that the world outside has changed.

As you walk through the threshold, you notice that it is dark outside.

As you take your first step, you realize there is an endless field of grass.

The air is cool, but still.

Above you, see a sky full of stars with a small sliver of the moon that just gives off enough light to see.

In the far distance, you can see the flickering of what could be a candle on a tree stump.

The light creates a faint outline of a large metal pot. That resembles a cauldron, sitting next to the tree stump.

There is no one around but you feel that you are being called to this place.

As you begin to walk and investigate, there seems to be no sound. Everything is quiet.

As you approach the tree stump, you can see that the light comes from a single lone black candle in a silver holder.

You can see that there is a piece of old parchment and a black feather quill sitting next to it.

You move closer to look into the cauldron, and see that it is filled with water.

All the stars are reflected on the surface, making it look as if the sky had fallen into the cauldron.

Enticed by its endless darkness you move in closer.

You can see your own reflection in its surface now, in an instant it begins to move involuntary of yourself.

You are not taking back by this vision, you strangely feel safe and comfortable.

Your reflection begins to explain that you are to write down all things that you wish to remove, overcome, and let go of and then burn the parchment. Which will allow these things to burn away.

As you turn back to the tree stump and reach for the paper and pen you can already feel lighter and freer than before.

Begin writing down all that you wish…

Once you have finished fold the paper three times and set it on fire with the flame of the candle.

Watch it burn. As the flame burns you can feel all that you wish to be removed has been burned away, these things will no longer return with you to your physical body.

As the paper burns drop the last few remaining pieces into the cauldron.

As the burning paper hits the water’s surface the air around you begins to fill with a vapor mist, that becomes thicker like fog.

It surrounds and engulfs you.

After a few moments the fog lifts.

You notice you are back in the room with your physical self, sitting in a protective bubble, sit down into yourself and allow your consciousness to return to your physical body.

Once you feel you are completely back and ready, open your eyes.

Pop Culture Paganism pt 3- using it’s ideals for teaching children Pagan Spirituality

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When I came across the Facebook post that asked‭ “‬Can you worship the Justice League as gods‭?” ‬I immediately started following it.‭ ‬I wanted to see how others in the community saw this,‭ ‬mainly because it would give me a little insight to how the concept would hold up with the adults who might have children.‭ ‬It turned out that I ended up learning a lot more than just what I wanted.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬the information I did obtained helped to expand on the concepts I had already written about.‭
When I started writing my first book‭; ‬which is now in the works for publication,‭ ‬although its technically my second book,‭ ‬I didn’t think I would end up writing another book side by side.‭ ‬Then low and behold I began writing‭ “‬The Little Witches Curriculum:‭ ‬A parent’s guide to teaching Witchcraft,‭ ‬magick,‭ ‬and Pagan spirituality‭”‬.‭ ‬The idea of the book was sparked from two major aspects of my life,‭ ‬being an early childhood educator and a practicing Witch.‭ ‬Writing something that combined the two areas where I have knowledge and years of experience in was an amazing accomplishment.‭ ‬Although,‭ ‬I am working on it regularly,‭ ‬it still has ways to go before‭ ‬publishing,‭ ‬which is why I do not want to put out‭ ‬too much of its contents.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬because of the‭ “‬Pop Culture Paganism‭” ‬blog series I will provide some concepts I discuss in the book on creating personal space and altars when teaching children Pagan spirituality,‭ ‬at which some of the ideals can also be found in Pop Culture Paganism.

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A Fortress of Solitude

If you child has shown an interest in meditation practice or wanting to have their own altar,‭ ‬it may be time to encourage them to allow them to create their own space.‭ ‬In my child meditation classes I relate this space to Superman’s‭ “‬Fortress of Solitude‭”‬.‭ ‬Which is a place of solace and refuge filled with personal items that Superman has collected or obtained from all over the universe.‭ ‬Just as Superman has his home away from home to recoup after the stresses of saving the world your child should have one as well.‭
Creating a personal space for your child to meditate,‭ ‬reflect,‭ ‬escape and connect is the first step of giving them the opportunity to start down their own spiritual path.‭ ‬The space should be in a place that is away from distractions,‭ ‬other family members,‭ ‬and separate from your own space.‭ ‬If you are sharing a room for meditation and magickal workings,‭ ‬let them choose an area of their own within that room.‭ ‬Allow your child to be a part of the‭ ‬decision-making through guidance,‭ ‬not dominance.‭ ‬After a place has been agreed upon I recommend allowing the child to build his or her own space.‭ ‬Adding their choice of pillows,‭ ‬decorations,‭ ‬even books and toys.‭ ‬Adding anything that makes the child feel comfortable and relaxed.‭ ‬The space may change as your child’s interests change,‭ ‬even if this happens on a day-to-day basis.‭ ‬Let it be.‭ ‬This is their space.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬if it starts to become more important than actually meditating,‭ ‬I would address it.‭ ‬As long as the space is being used regularly,‭ ‬let your child’s imagination run wild.‭
Although,‭ ‬many traditions have certain‭ “‬recommended‭” ‬ways that altars are set up,‭ ‬there is no need for this when it comes to a child’s altar.‭ ‬Children learn more when they are given the freedom to discover on their own.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬during the process of setting it up,‭ ‬you can use the opportunity as a‭ “‬teachable moment‭” ‬in that you can explain how your tradition may do things or what some other traditions may do.‭

 

Hail,‭ ‬Wonder Woman and Mighty Thor
Although,‭ ‬I would probably cringe at this statement,‭ ‬but not for the reasons most Pagans would.‭ ‬How can you mix the Marvel universe with D.C.‭?‬ that shouldn’t be allowed.‭ ‬When it comes to children and choosing what to put on their altars as a representation of Gods and Goddesses,‭ ‬our adult prejudices of what is right or wrong have no validity in a child’s mind.‭ ‬So if they feel that Wonder Woman can stand side by side with Thor,‭ ‬then so be it.‭ ‬Representations can also be other things besides comic book super‭ ‬heroes‭;‬ I have seen children choose Sleeping beauty and a Ken doll.‭ ‬When it comes to children the possibilities are endless.‭ ‬What they choose shouldn’t matter what does,‭ ‬is the reasons why.‭ ‬Are they choosing‭ ‬sleeping beauty because she is the cool toy at the moment or because this is how the child sees‭ ‬femininity‭?‬ This is where Pagan parenting comes into play.‭ ‬As adults,‭ ‬we should guide the children in their choices.‭ ‬By asking‭ ‬open-ended questions we foster them to think about their answers.‭ ‬We can also give them a background context of our own tradition and ideals to help them along if needed.‭ ‬Whereas,‭ ‬they may not know that you work with a god/male energy or a Goddess/female energy,‭ ‬and why.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬this is not to instill your beliefs into the child,‭ ‬but to allow them to chose their own path and spiritual ideals.‭

Children may also want to add other personal items and toys that make them feel comfortable,‭ ‬safe,‭ ‬and protected within their space.‭
One of my favorite comparison stories to tell in my workshop on this topic is actually from Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.‭ ‬Where you see the child,‭ ‬Dylan‭ ‬uses his dinosaur at the foot of his bed to protect him Freddy.‭ ‬It was his belief or‭ “‬intention‭” ‬that this dinosaur would scare Freddy off and protect him while he sleeps.‭ ‬Sound sort of familiar‭? ‬I would hope so.‭ ‬That dinosaur was his magickal protector.‭ ‬Children create magickal items out of anything and they all have their place on their altar and within their spirituality.‭

In part one of this series,‭ ‬I discussed how Pop Culture Paganism is a unique and modern way of looking at the traditional Gods and how pop culture characters and stories are used as an approachable face for the deities of tradition.‭ ‬This is exactly how I approach teaching Pagan spirituality to children.‭ ‬Children often show more of an interest in what they see on T.V.‭ ‬or what their friends may be into,‭ ‬than learning about the old myths.‭ ‬Why not use this modern view of the Gods and Goddess to spark their spiritual growth.‭ ‬It is no consequence to anyone what a person,‭ ‬adult or child believes is the face of the Divine.‭

 

Pop Culture Paganism Pt 1 – Can you worship the Justice League as Gods?

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Once again,‭ ‬Facebook has provided me with a topic for a blog post.‭ ‬A few months ago,‭ ‬I came across a rather interesting post in a Wiccan group.‭ ‬Someone had asked the question,‭ “‬Can you worship the Justice League as gods‭?” ‬and if anyone had any experience in doing so.‭ ‬As a D.C.‭ ‬fan,‭ ‬I was interested in the comments and how people responded to this.‭ ‬Which at first the comments were supportive,‭ ‬then turned to‭ “‬trolling‭” ‬doubt,‭ ‬and then they became down right rude.‭ ‬Another reason I paid close attention to the question,‭ ‬is that this very idea is something I am currently writing about in the manuscript for‭ “‬The Little Witches‭”‬.‭ ‬Whereas,‭ ‬I discuss children and the use of fictional characters and toys,‭ ‬such as superhero and dinosaurs on their altars.‭ ‬Although,‭ ‬in the book there are multiple reasons for them to do so,‭ ‬using them as a representation of a deity is also discussed.‭ ‬What made the Facebook post even more intriguing,‭ ‬was that this was coming from an adult.‭ ‬I was not in any way questioning the posters sanity,‭ ‬as some in the feed might have suggested,‭ ‬but rather the ideals of someone who had posted for an intellectual discussion of spiritual beliefs.‭ ‬It was one passive aggressive comment that held my interest.‭ ‬On one hand it gave opposition and yet provided good information on the other.‭ ‬It was this added link that really sparked my desire to write about the topic of‭ “‬Pop Culture Paganism‭”‬.‭
I had actually started writing this at the time the question was posted on Facebook,‭ ‬but never got around to finishing it,‭ ‬until now.‭ ‬It popped back in mind after watching the new Justice League trailer‭ (‬squeeee‭!!) ‬and thought it would be a perfect time to finish and post it.‭ ‬What started,‭ ‬as a one-time post has now become a three part series of posts.‭ ‬Part one will consist of an introduction to Pop Culture Paganism,‭ ‬part two will host an interview with the author of Pop Culture Magick,‭ ‬Taylor Ellwood,‭ ‬and part three will discuss using Pop Culture Paganism concepts with children.‭

What is Pop Culture Paganism‭?

Simply,‭ ‬Pop Culture Paganism is a unique and modern way of looking at the traditional gods and beliefs.‭ ‬It is the use of pop culture characters and stories as either an approachable face for traditional Pagan deities and/or as a substitute for their traditional mythologies.‭ ‬For an easy understandable example,‭ ‬if you work with the Goddess,‭ ‬Athena you may want to use the image of Wonder Woman,‭ ‬rather than the traditional image.‭ ‬Pop Culture Paganism is all about working with the attributes of fictional characters that are relatable to traditional pantheon archetypes.‭ ‬One common example of the use of Pop Culture in modern paganism is the use of the Arthurian legends,‭ ‬whereas many people connect with the myth of Merlin and Excalibur.‭ ‬We can also see another use of Pop Culture in the various tools used in the magickal community.‭ ‬From the images found on tarot cards to movie replicas of wands,‭ ‬these have seemed to be more widely accepted than the idea of using comic book heroes in place of deities.‭
Pop Culture Paganism may also be reflected in ritual practices‭ (‬such as using Hogwarts Houses or the Voltron lions in calling the quarters‭)‬.‭ ‬Many Pop Culture Pagans also practice what is known as Pop Culture Magick‭ (‬discussed later in this post‭)‬.‭ ‬Although,‭ ‬just as with Wicca,‭ ‬not all Pop Culture Pagans practice this or any form of Magick or vise versa.‭ ‬As you can see Pop Culture Paganism is rather diverse and even already apparent in modern Paganism.‭

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Why Pop Culture Paganism‭?

Despite the conventional Pagans eye rolling at its practice,‭ ‬there are many reasons one may choose this path.‭ ‬Taylor Ellwood,‭ ‬author of Pop Culture Magick states in his video‭ “‬I resonate more with pop culture than I do with some of the older cultures‭”‬.‭ ‬After reading many personal blogs and articles on Pop Culture Paganism,‭ ‬it seems to me that this is one of the main factors in its draw.‭ ‬Although,‭ ‬I do not incorporate these ideals into my personal practice,‭ ‬I can completely understand the connections one can find in its systems of belief and how they resonate with some.‭ ‬For many there is an emotional attachment to certain characters.‭ ‬How many times a day do you think of a certain fictional character‭? ‬A lot of times characters from books or films leave a lasting impression and we connect to them emotionally and sometimes even morally.
When you think about it everyone already kind of does a form of it anyway.‭ ‬When you put up a poster or speak to a favorite toy as if they were living or try to be like a favorite character or celebrity,‭ ‬such as in Cosplay.‭

Another thought that I found interesting was the idea that the‭ “‬old gods‭” ‬are just connecting with us through our modern culture.‭ ‬What if this is true‭? ‬What if this is their way of communicating with people on a large scale‭? ‬Throughout the years,‭ ‬I have seen the re-emergence of mythologies within our Pop Culture over and over again.‭ ‬From Marvel’s Thor to the new release of Assassins Creed Origins,‭ ‬the ancient myths always seem to be a focus and find their way into our modern times.‭ ‬Although,‭ ‬many of the stories surrounding the characters are new or reinvented,‭ ‬they can act as a gateway to the original myths to those who connect with them.‭ ‬Just recently I was asked to fill out a questionnaire for the Covenant of Hekate and one of the questions was‭ “‬When did you first hear about Hekate‭?” ‬After some thought,‭ ‬I realized that I had first heard her name in the opening scene of‭ “ ‬Midnight Offerings‭” ‬a movie back in the early eighty’s.‭ ‬This second of a mention caused me to pull out the good old family encyclopedia set‭ (‬just dated myself‭) ‬to investigate who this person was.‭ ‬Could that have been her leading me to her all those years ago‭?
Why question how the Gods manifest in our lives or in others lives or if the stories are old or modern,‭ ‬just accept that they are there.
Yet another interesting thought is that these characters,‭ ‬images,‭ ‬and‭ ‬personas were created and manifested in their constructs mind through the deities to reach the masses.‭ ‬Do I think Bob Cane channeled Anubis when‭ ‬first creating‭ ‬Batman‭?‬ Sure why not,‭ ‬anything is possible,‭ ‬plus that would be awesome.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬it could also be that I see aspects of Anubis in the character of Batman.‭ ‬Either way it’s not about how we personally connect to the Gods,‭ ‬it’s what we do with that connection and the relationship we have with them.‭ ‬No matter the personified embodiment we use as an image.‭

Now that I have learned more about Pop Culture Paganism,‭ ‬I could answer the Facebook posted question,‭ “‬Can you worship the Justice League as gods‭?” ‬Sure,‭ ‬why not.‭ ‬They are just modern images and concepts of the older gods.‭ ‬Whereas,‭ ‬Wonder Women can be seen as the Greek Goddess,‭ ‬Athena,‭ ‬Flash as the Roman God,‭ ‬Mercury,‭ ‬and Aquaman as Poseidon or Neptune.‭

If you are interested in learning more about Pop Culture Paganism and Magick I recommend checking these out for more information:

‬Taylor Ellwood’s Blog on Witchesandpagans.com‭

Books by Taylor Ellwood

Taylor Ellwood’s YouTube channel

Casting Creative Magickal Circles: Samhain excerpt

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Recognized as one of the most important holidays of the year,‭ ‬Samhain,‭ ‬meaning‭ “‬Summer’s End,‭” ‬is a major festival with several aspects.‭ ‬It is the celebration of the end of the harvest and the start of the dark half of the year,‭ ‬because of this transition it is also known as‭ “‬The Witches‭’ ‬New Year‭”‬.‭ ‬Many pagan traditions also see this as the time of death for the Sun and the solar gods,‭ ‬to be reborn at the Winter Solstice or Yule.‭ ‬It is a night when we remember our departed loved ones and honor our ancestors.‭ ‬Samhain is when the veil between the world of the dead and the world of the living is said to be at its thinnest.‭
Creatively speaking,‭ ‬Samhain circles are the most difficult to foster.‭ ‬There are so many different aspects of the holiday that it’s hard to focus on just one.‭ In Casting Creative Magickal Circles  I have included circles for the different themes that are commonly used in Samhain rituals.‭ This circle in particular uses an Ancestor theme that allows your ancestors to be a part of your circle and ritual. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

The Ancestor Circle

Items needed:‭ ‬photographs of your ancestors.
When casting your circle for a Samhain ritual that has an ancestor focus,‭ ‬you would begin in the west‭; ‬traditionally regarded as the realm of the dead.‭ ‬Begin by placing the first picture on the floor in the west calling out the name of the ancestor as you do.‭ ‬Continue clockwise around the parameter of your space,‭ ‬calling out each name as the picture is placed.‭ ‬If you do not have enough photographs to complete a circle,‭ ‬place them evenly throughout the circle.
When you have returned to the west,‭ ‬say or something similar:
‭“‬I have laid this circle in love and protection,
May all that have been named help hold,
This sacred space on this Samhain night.‭”
Visualize protective and loving energy connecting each picture,‭ ‬and then expanding into a sphere around your space.
Saying:‭ “‬So mote it be‭” ‬when you have created your sphere.

When you are ready to release the circle,‭ ‬starting in the west,‭ ‬walking counter-clockwise begin to pick up each picture,‭ ‬visualizing the energy being released out into the universe,‭ ‬while saying or something similar:
‭“‬I release this circle in love and honor.‭”

This circle casting can be easily adapted for group rituals as well,‭ ‬allowing all participants to bring and add their own ancestor photographs.‭

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Casting Creative Magickal Circles: Mabon excerpt

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Mabon is the second in the three harvest festivals,‭ ‬also known as the Autumnal Equinox and is commonly seen as the Witch’s Thanksgiving.‭ ‬It is a day of balance,‭ ‬when the equal hours of both light and dark are seen in the sun’s journey toward the equator.

At this time,‭ ‬many Wiccans and witches give thanks to the waning sunlight,‭ ‬and the blessings we have received.‭ ‬It is a time to begin reflecting on the passing year and give thanks for what the things that we have received and learned.‭

In Wiccan lore,‭ ‬Mabon is the time when the God prepares to die to be reborn again from his mother’s,‭ ‬the Goddess‭’‬,‭ ‬womb.‭

Over the years,‭ ‬I have written many Mabon and harvest themed rituals,‭ ‬but as of late,‭ ‬I would much rather focus on a community dinner gathering to celebrate.‭ ‬These‭ “‬dinner parties‭” ‬still have the aspects of ritual‭; ‬just not as formal as they would be any other holiday.‭ ‬The three circles I have chosen to include in this chapter were created during my years in solitary practice,‭ ‬but they can easily be adapted for a group.

 

The Gifts that Keep on Giving Circle

Items needed:‭ ‬one apple of any color,‭ ‬a handful of quarters.
This Mabon circle’s focus is about sharing the blessings of the harvest.‭ ‬Before you begin,‭ ‬place the quarters in the apple.‭ ‬The apple will be utilized to cast the circle.‭ ‬Begin casting in the north representing abundance.‭ ‬With the apple in hand,‭ ‬walk slowly clockwise around your space,‭ ‬saying or something similar:
‭“‬I cast this circle with the blessings of abundance,
With love and for protection.
I honor,‭ ‬sacrifice on this blessed Mabon.‭”
Visualize protective and loving energy emanating from the apple,‭ ‬then expanding into a sphere around your space.
Saying:‭ “‬So mote it be‭”‬.

When you are ready to release the circle,‭ ‬starting now in the north,‭ ‬walking counter-clockwise around your space with the apple in hand.‭ ‬Visualizing the energy being into the apple,‭ ‬while saying or something similar:
‭“‬I thank the harvest for its gifts,
I release this circle out into the world,
Let it touch all those who need it love.‭”

After your ritual,‭ ‬take the quarters out of the apple and keep them with you.‭ ‬Using them for good deeds,‭ ‬such as in a parking meter that is about to run out.‭ ‬Use them in moments of‭ “‬paying it forward‭” ‬or share the harvest with those in need.

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The Protests of Philly’s Pagan Pride and Guided Meditation: Spirit of the Wolf

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It has been a very busy last few weeks, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write. Over the last few weeks, I have been facilitating private ceremonies, holding workshops, and attending various Pagan events. One of those events was the Philadelphia Pagan Pride, for which I am also a board member. If you are in the “Pagan Pride” community, you might have come across a few articles about this event. It has gotten a little focus due to a few “Christian” extremists protesting the event. I went back and forth in my head whether or not to write a blog post about the protest and its effects, but decided not to add to fuel that is their fire. Instead, I will only talk about some of the positive things I experienced and then move on to a meditation.
Unfortunately,, the protest started right next to my tent, which was for the children. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the tent wasn’t for the children. This tent was meant to be a sort of refuse for children to explore and learn about their spiritual interests and should not have been exposed to the ranting of negative remarks from a hate group. Although, I don’t believe that children should be shielded from such things, there is absolutely no reason for them to be involved in it. At the start of the protest, I had a few children working on various activities and they weren’t affected by it. Once it escalated, comments and questions had erupted from a few of the children, my nephew included. I decided to take the “teachable moment” and change the focus of negativity to something positive. It became a discussion of religious acceptance and similarities, rather than prejudice and hate (sadly, from both sides). Once the protest had ended, I witnessed an amazing sight; two of the children went around the event with sage in hand, smudging all the tents and area to remove the negativity of the protest. This was completely done without adult direction and solely on their own accord. For me, this made the event a success.

One’s spirituality can be a driving force for a multitude of emotions and experiences. Which is why so many religions find themselves in some uncomfortable situations. But what happens when these situations affect us on a personal level? By utilizing some meditative techniques we can learn how to better control our emotions in these situations. Such practices of breathing and quieting the mind can help us take hold of the responses our emotions can create. Having a regular meditation practice makes it easier to use these techniques during emotional situations.
This guided meditation employs the spirit of the wolf, who in many traditions is seen as a guide to spirituality. In our meditation we will visit the moon to get a better understanding of its energies within its various phases, all by means of the wolf.

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Spirit of the Wolf Guided Meditation

Begin by lighting a candle and some incense. Turn off the lights. Close your eyes, make yourself comfortable and relax. Next begin to prepare for the meditation by breathing in deeply through your nose, filling your belly, hold for a count of three and exhale through your mouth. Do this three times, or until you feel relaxed, centered and open.

Feel the room around you, acknowledge the glow of the candle and scent of incense.
As you breath in, begin to visualize the smoke of the incense circling you, surrounding you.
It begins to create a bubble around you. This bubble will protect your body on your journey.

You find yourself sitting in the dark, outside on a hill.
You can feel the cool grass beneath you, but, the air is warm around you.
Crickets quietly chirp in the distance.
Although, you are sitting in the dark, you are not afraid….
Appearing before you is the spirit of the wolf.
He sits harmlessly before you.
Looking closer you can see that he is in spirit form rather than solid, yet his soft fur sways in the warm breeze.
He will be your guide on this journey and will take you through the phases of the moon.
Begin your journey by feeling and reaching out to wolf’s energy.
Allow it to mix with your own, you will become one with wolf.

Now, as wolf, looking up to the black sky, you notice a tiny sliver of light begin to appear, it is the new moon.
Feel and see yourself going toward the moon.
At the same time the moon also comes to you.
You and the moon meet and join together.. You are the new moon….
Take some time and feel the energy of the new moon.
It is of new beginnings and birth.
Allow yourself to succumb to its energy and let the moon show you what you need to learn at this time…….

After a moment, wolf calls you back and to let go of the new moon’s energy.
As you pull away, you begin to see the sliver of the moon begin to grow into a waxing crescent moon.
It’s energies of growth and love begin to surround you.
Allow the knowledge of where you are headed to enter you, let the moon show you what steps you need to take to grow at this time.

Again the wolf calls you back after a few moments, the images begin to fade and you are now overcome by the bright light of the full moon… The energies and power are almost too overwhelming.
It is time to open yourself up to them and be the full moon.
These powerful energies feel as though they are recharging you, like a battery.
You can feel your own magikal energies reach the highest they have ever been.
You are now glowing with pure positive energy.
The energy pours out of you in all directions and reflects off the clouds above and touches the trees and plants below.
As above, so below you are the full moon…

Just as you feel you are able to expand your energies around the world, the light fades into a waxing crescent moon.
It begins to draw back some of the energies you have just absorbed.
Along with some the full moon energies, the waning moon extracts all the negative thoughts you hide within yourself.
It takes your fears.
Your self created obstacles.
You can see all this pouring out of you in a long dark plume of black smoke…..

You are now floating in darkness, no sound…Total emptiness.
You are not afraid. You know you are protected by the spirit of the wolf.
This is the time to confront all the negatives that had poured out of you.
Face them, learn from them… This is the dark of the moon……….

After a moment, all the images begin to fade as you hear the cry of the wolf.
You have now returned to the hilltop, looking up, you can see all the moon phases in the sky.
Bid farewell to them, individually and thank them for their wisdom.

Eventually, the darken sky becomes day and before is the wolf.
Thank and honor his spirit.
You may also wish to take a moment to accept any wisdom he gives you.
Say your farewells.. Take 3 breaths, and open your eyes….