Gathering Nuts

As I look outside, I see the woods with the trees standing bare. I see the animals moving about in the fallen leaves in the woods behind my home scavenging for food. I had put some nuts on the back deck and watched as a squirrel found them and made short work of them. He was relentless, grabbing one and disappearing in the trees to come back a few minutes later for the next one. I'm sure he thought he had hit paydirt. I had gathered the nuts when visiting my grandfather's farm - he is always raking up the hickory nuts into a piles around his house so visitors won't step on them and fall. We don't have any hickory trees so I thought my squirrels might enjoy some. Apparently, at least one of them will be enjoying them.

This makes me think of the "nuts" I've been working hard to gather this year to carry my family and those that I love through. Anyone that knows me knows about my passions. My church or group, North Georgia Solitaries and the newest project of this church, the Pagan Assistance Fund. There have been many people that have put a lot of time and energy into helping to get this started. We've held several fundraisers and promoted it to everyone that will listen. I'm sure that my Facebook friends sometimes get tired of my constant posts about what we are doing now to raise money. Unfortunately, we've not been able to raise the money we need to open up the original plan for the fund, an emergency fund for families in crisis. We've barely raised enough to cover the expenses of getting it started.

However, we've made numerous connections with groups we didn't know and people we didn't know in our efforts. We put on the Pagan Pathways Festival in an effort to support the PAF. We were overjoyed to see many groups jump on board and assist us in that effort. We had rituals run by two different groups in addition to the full moon ritual that NGS hosted. We sold out of vendor spaces almost immediately. If we do it again in the same place we are going to have to expand out to the parking lot for activities. We had some fantastic entertainment in Todd Bilodeaux and Celia Farran. The food that was provided by a vendor was some of the best festival food I've ever had. People showed up in droves to volunteer to help vendors get unloaded and set up, help with the parking lot and anything else we needed that day. I was blown away by the real sense of community we had there.

Since that time, we've had several requests for assistance that we didn't have the funds to meet. So we started a "Hail Out" program. We would make postings about a particular case where money was not necessarily what was needed. In one case, someone needed to find a specialist they could afford to treat an injury. The community jump forth with suggestions for clinics and programs they knew of. We had a case where a family was going to be homeless and needed a roof over their heads. We had almost a dozen offers from staying in a vacant house temporarily to camping in someone's backyard to camping out in someone's living room. We watched as a local coven took the family in and gave them a room in an already crowded home and made them a part of their family. We've put a call out for someone that needed help getting the only family vehicle fixed so they could continue to go to the doctor, take their children to school and go to work. We had numerous responses to that. We continually help people with a need match up with people that can fill that need. While this isn't what we had in mind, this is certainly a facet of the PAF that we want to continue. However, it isn't enough.

One of our members suggested we start a barter blog on our website. We started that this past week. We've been in contact with several worthy causes organized by other members of our community that need to get the word out about their causes and gain some support. Watch our website for information on these causes and more and how you can become a part of someone else's solution. All of this still isn't enough. We still want to find a way to help feed our families, provide clothing and toys for our children, provide emergency assistance for members of our community that need it.

Check out our website frequently. There will be new ways you can help posted there all the time. Sometimes it isn't a matter of giving cash. Sometimes it is a matter of making a purchase you were going to make already by clicking through our website first. On this blog and shortly on the Pagan Assistance Fund site will be a link to Amazon. If you are making a purchase on Amazon, I urge you to click through to Amazon from one of these links. That way, a piece of your purchase will go towards supporting the Pagan Assistance Fund. Watch for other affiliate links on my site as well as the Pagan Assistance Fund and North Georgia Solitaries sites. Some of our "Friends" might put these links on their sites as well. Watch for them and support them.

Also, check out the items for sale on the Pagan Assistance Fund website. All proceeds from these sales go straight towards this fund. Shop the stores that are listed on our site with notes about proceeds going to the fund. These are retailers that have pledged a piece of their sales for the Pagan Assistance Fund. These are retailers that have pledged a piece of their sales to go directly back to the community. Your community.

Save tabs from soda cans. Bring them to any place in the community that NGS might be or pass them on to someone you know that will be seeing one of our members. There will be other programs coming up like this one that don't necessarily mean money out of your pocket. Don't get me wrong. Money is still good, but even those without much of that can still help. We have one member that checks the garbage at work for soda cans with tabs and pulls them to save and donate.

Watch the website - make suggestions. Pass those postings you see on Facebook about what we are doing or what we are needing along to others. The more people that see it, the more that will help. Suggest our Facebook Page to friends. Pass the word. If you can't do anything else, you can lend your voice.

Help us gather nuts for our community.


Today we have snow. So, I've put together some uses for those of us that practice magick.

Snow can be used in several ways in magick. Snow water or even frozen snow in your freezer makes a great addition to your magickal supplies.

To collect snow for magickal use put one or more large mouthed containers outside while it is snowing. Allow them to collect the snow. I use trays, pans, large salad bowls and lids from storage bins to collect mine.

If you want to save snow water, filter the snow through a coffee filter and let it melt and drip through into a jar. This will remove the impurities. I usually mark on the jar or bottle the date the snow water was collected and which snow it was of the season - 1st, last, etc.

If you want to save it in your freezer, try to make sure you have as clean a snow as possible, pack it in a freezer bag or freezer container and stick it in your freezer for use later.


Snow water

Add a few drops of snow water to your spell or potion to:

freeze a situation or action

cool off tempers

purify something of negative feelings, energies, actions, etc.

fulfillment of hopes or dreams

silence outside noisiness so you can hear the messages from other worlds or the Gods

Holy water made from snow water is considered especially pure

Snow in its frozen form

Make a snow poppet for someone that is sick. Add an imprint or taglock of the person such as a piece of hair or fingernail. Visualize the illness melting away as the snow melts.

Carve a wish in the snow with your staff, wand or athame. Trace a pentacle over the the wish to seal it. Don't forget to leave an offering in the snow as you ask the Gods to grant your wish.

Write a wish on a piece of paper, pack snow around it. Place it in a jar. Once the snow melts bury the contents of the jar in earth.

To be rid of something negative - fill a bowl up with snow - level it so it has a flat surface. Hold your hands over the bowl, palms downward visualize your negative something (habit, condition, energy, situation) being put down into the snow in the bowl. Push the power it has over you into the snow. Still visualizing the problem, sprinkle salt over it until you completely cover the surface.

"Crystal snow, crystal white,
Help me now, Win this fight,
Salt protect. White on white.
Powers water & earth.
Reign tonight."

Think about snow's characteristics. Take advantage of its magickal properties and work those energies into your own magickal endeavors. For starters, look at snow's physical characteristics. It's cold. It's white. It can be wet or light and powdery. Think about how the world looks when it is covered with snow. Clean and pure. Quiet.

Build snowballs and empower them with the energies of a bad habit you want to get rid of. Throw the snowballs as far away as you can and see the bad habit's power over you being destroyed as the snowball splats onto the ground or the tree or whatever you hit with it.

Write the name of someone that is bothering you and won't leave you alone on a piece of paper. Put it in a freezer bag filled with snow and put it in the freezer until this person chills out.

Stop something in its tracks - write down your aggravation on a piece of paper - freeze it in a bag of snow until you can comfortably deal with it. Then thaw it out and deal with it. You can perform this type of magick for any sort of negative trait within yourself you wish to be rid of or an emotion you just can't handle at the moment and need to put on ice until you are stronger.

Bury a piece of paper in the snow with a wish for something you want to hold or freeze in place. If snow is not available, bury the paper in crushed ice and place in the freezer.

Also, use snow to melt down a hard heart. Write the name of someone who is angry with you or cold-hearted toward you. Put it in a bowl of snow. (you can use ice cubes if you don't have snow). Pour boiling water over the snow until it melts. Sprinkle this water around a picture of this person or across a path he/she is sure to tread.

Be creative. Think of other ways you can use snow or snow water in your magickal work.

Making Room for the Good Stuff

It has been a while since I've posted anything to this blog. Moving has proven to be a long, drawn out challenge. We have way too much stuff. It's amazing when you start packing it all up how you find things you totally forgot you even had. Now that most of it is in the new place I've started going through it as I unpack it. I'm amazed at how much goes into the "don't need this" pile. I've decided to reopen our internet business and use the need to get rid of this clutter to build start-up capital. We've still got a few things left to get out of the old house but we are working on it each weekend.

It's funny how different people look at things differently. I had a friend recently that apparently heard we were moving through the ever popular grapevine. I'm not sure what he heard but he seemed to think this was a huge problem in our lives. When I first mentioned it a few months ago here on this blog I was torn between letting go of something I loved and looking forward to the benefits of moving. I have to say that now that we are here the blessings far outweigh any loss. I love the neighborhood. I am close enough to friends that I can walk to their house. The house is smaller, but more comfortable and certainly the ability to breathe has made it more comfortable.

David and I have taken a good look at what has been going on in our lives over the last few years. We've made the decision to rid our lives of anything that clutters it and make room for the good stuff that we want to fill it with. When you start looking at what clutters your life it is amazing what you find. Maybe you have a job you don't like and dread going to everyday. Maybe there are people that bring you down. Maybe it is actual physical clutter that keeps you from having a nice neat environment to call your sanctuary, your home. Maybe it is meaningless tasks that you busy yourself with while complaining that you don't have the time to do thing things you want to do. We found that we had a little of all of that and made a vow to get rid of anything that is weighing us down to make room for the things we really want.

It's amazing how the things you really want come knocking on your door when they can get to the door. We aren't working at the job we both hated anymore. We don't have the house that was having an adverse effect on my health. There are people that were in our lives that were causing quite a bit of stress that aren't there any longer. Once we started removing those things from our lives, David got a great job offer. I've got friends living close by that are likely to stop in and say hello. I'm able to start up my home business again. I have more time for more spiritual pursuits. I can't wait to see what else comes our way as we remove more clutter from our lives.


Amazingly, with all the meetings, rituals, classes, work and everything else I managed to fill up my schedule with, we have now added moving to our schedule. Makes me wish I had not become such a packrat over the last few years. I've been slowly working on cleaning out stuff as time allowed but now it is just clean it out and make quick decisions and dump it.

This is one of those times when you sit back and look around and ask yourself what is the lesson here? What is the gift here? What is the blessing here? Sometimes they are hard to find. I love my house and am having to move. The place we found to move is really nice and cute but quite a bit smaller than our current home so I'm having to make some tough decisions on furniture and other belongings. My cats are not going to have the screened in porch they love so much and the yard won't have the nice large space for circle I have now. We will be driving at least 5 times further to work eating up more gas.

So, what is the blessing? The blessing is that the house we are in now has a mold issue. I have breathing issues so living with the mold is a problem. The blessing is that we are moving from a neighborhood where we don't know anyone to a neighborhood that has one of my best friends moving to it. The blessing is that we will be paying significantly less. I might even be able to work my way back to working from home again. In retrospect, we probably should have done this before now but I am a big believer in all things come in the time they are meant to. This is how we learn the lessons we need to learn. So here's to my new lessons and challenges.

Today I being making offerings of thanks for the blessings of finding this home we've found and thanks that it is located so close to people I care about so much. Thanks for letting me find a landlord that was so easy to work with about my cats. I could never have given up such important members of my family. Thanks for my husband that works so hard to not give me a hard time about all the stuff I have and actually manages to make it seem like he has sympathy over me having to get rid of some of it. :) Thanks to the wonderful friends that have jumped in to offer assistance and love. Life is really good. My reality is really good.

Atlanta Pagan Leadership Roundtable

One of the most promising things I've seen happening in the local Pagan community is the birth of the Atlanta Pagan Leadership Roundtable.  It apparently was started early this year with a few leaders in the community that thought it would be a good idea for the local leaders to start getting together and sharing news of upcoming community events and resources.  I heard about it for the first time at the Atlanta Pagan Marketplace of Ideas at Sweetwater Creek State Park.  Someone there had a sign-up sheet at their table.  I'm always looking for new ways to network within the community and meet more people.  I signed up and made sure that the person I was with signed up as well.  Frankly, with the crowd that was there and all the new people I met that day I promptly forgot about it.

I received an email a several weeks later advising that the most recent meeting was being rescheduled.  I started paying closer attention and made sure that I was signed up and my calendar was cleared for the next meeting.  The next meeting was going to be a good hour and 1/2 drive from my neck of the woods so I posted to see if anyone from our area was going that wanted to ride.  As much as I would like to drive a hybrid or something a little more "green", my current vehicle is a minivan with the perfect monthly payment of zero.  So that "green" vehicle will have to wait until I can afford to make that change.  The seats quickly filled up.

I was so pleased when we arrived to find that this idea was really taking off.  There must have been 40-50 people there and I recognized people from several different groups/covens/churches.  I'm sure there were groups represented there that I didn't recognize as well.  There was a really professional presentation put on by that month's host of the meeting, Lady Belladonna of Covenant of W.I.S.E. followed by food and entertainment put together by her church.   The one thing that struck me at the time was watching people that had had problems in the past come together for a common purpose and then socialize after in a respectful and friendly environment.  It was made clear by the attitude at this meeting that our community has the potential to come together and start building some major resources when we put our egos aside and can have fun doing so.

The Roundtable has met once since then.  This time it was all work.  We broke out into smaller groups with discussion topics and goals.  Once these groups had narrowed their discussion down we met back and brought our topics out to the group as a whole.  Everyone was pleased to hear that all four of the smaller groups ended up with very similar ideas, so a consensus on most items on the agenda was easily reached.  We had a potluck after the meeting and all went home hot and tired but feeling like we accomplished something.  We defined the purpose of the group, came up with some workable goals and discussed how the group is going to communicate.

I can't wait to see what we can accomplish together next year.

Truth is all Relative


Last week in class we discussed the relativity of truth and how our understanding of that concept can change reality as we know it.  It can allow us to shape our reality into what we want it to be rather than what it is at this moment.  Understanding this one concept or truth allows us to change the very fabric of reality.

The truth shall set you free.  Truth is truth.  What is is what is.  How many of you have heard those sayings?  Truth is relative.  One man's truth is based on his understanding of his reality in that moment.  Another man can hear and see and experience the same thing and understand it completely differently based on his reality at that moment.

Let's take the example two people at an intersection.  One is driving a car and has pulled up to make a turn.  He is watching traffic coming from both directions but is more concerned about the traffic coming from his left.  A young man is approaching the intersection on foot.  He and his friends are talking and goofing around.  The young man sees the car but as it is stopped begins to cross the intersection from the right side of the car.  The driver of the car had looked right and assumed the boys would stop at the crosswalk to allow him to continue.  As the driver begins to move his bumper hits the young man.  Both saw the same situation and came away with differing truths on who should stop.  Both leave this experience believing the other should have been paying more attention.  Both walk away with different truths.

Married couples bump up against relative truth all day long.  I'll give you one that typically happens in our household.  I work a regular job as well run the groups and events for my group, North Georgia Solitaries.  This keeps me extremely busy during the hours I'm not at work answering emails, sending out postings about upcoming events, contacting venues, etc.  Those few hours after work before dinner and bedtime seem to fly by with me on the computer.  My husband will usually decide that if we are ever going to eat, it will be up to him so he fixes dinner.  He gives me 15 minute, 10 minute and 5 minute warnings that it is ready.  I really do try to 'wrap up' my work during those warnings but seem to always be running over with 'just one more thing' and dinner ends up a little cold.  His truth - he works to make dinner and the least I could do is stop and sit down to eat it.  My truth - I am trying to get work done and just need that 'one more minute' (which I know always turns into 15.)  Am I being inconsiderate?  Probably.  Do I appreciate his efforts?  Absolutely.  I'd probably still be sitting at the computer by the time the alarm goes off to start the next day if it weren't for him.

Here's truth I keep bumping into every day.  The economy is hurting everyone.  The Pagan community is a huge part of that everyone.  The Pagan Assistance Fund is a product of this problem.  It's mission is to try and build the resources (some of them financial) to be able to assist families in crisis in the Pagan community.  However, raising money to assist the community means raising money from that very community.  It is hard to get money out of people that don't have it to begin with.  Donating money is something we all want to be able to do for causes we believe in.  However, if we are staring at bills we can't pay ourselves it is hard to find it in our hearts to give any of the limited resources we have away.

Once we understand that truth is relative, we can understand that reality is relative as well.  We can make the leap from there to understanding that we can shape that reality to be what we want.  That is the basis for our understanding of the Craft.  That is the foundation we can work from.