Posts Tagged ‘healing’

Today’s pull proved interesting for me as the women’s group I’m part of is about to begin a revisit to the Cycle of Healing and healing is such a big part of his story. The Fisher King might be wounded, but he is also one given an important charge and has wisdom to share. Today might be a good time to talk to an elder you respect for insight.



King of Cups – The Fisher King

Meaning: A mature, dignified person of authority. Someone who may be relied upon for guidance and assurance. A person of strong faith and liberal views. A person who displays an interest in the arts and sciences. One whose strength lies in their mind, which when combined with their uncanny foresight, is capable of orchestrating and achieving long-term goals. Can represent a lawyer, successful business person, scientist, or artist. A person who tends to be reclusive and carries an air of mystery.

Can also indicate dubious dealings, loss and suffering, and illness and injustice. A person who lacks a sense of responsibility and cares only for his or her own personal welfare. Treachery and scandal.

The Fisher King

Fisher King was the name given to the succession of kings who were entrusted to guard the Grail, some of whom were Brons (or Hebron), Pelles, and Anfortas.

The goal of the Quest was to reach the elusive home of the Fisher King and ask the (correctly worded) question. It was believed that this would unlock the secret of the Grail, whereupon the king would be healed of his wound and the Wasteland would rejuvenate. Here the Mimed King or Wounded King motif has fused with the already confounded nature of the Fisher King. Adding to the confusion is that there can be up to three wounded kings, depending on which version of the story you read.

Some maintain that the Fisher King is a Christian motif, owing to the early Christian symbol of the fish. Others argue that Brons is the avatar of the Welsh Bran the Blessed who suffered from a wounded foot. It is further explained that the fish equates with the Celtic Salmon of Knowledge. Continuing on the Celtic line, some consider Pelles to be the original Fisher King, and connect him with Pwyll of the Welsh Mabinogion.

Legend: The Arthurian Tarot by author and artist Anna-Marie Ferguson

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Note: This is a continuation of my January post and the February update about dealing with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. 


Sometimes wise reminders come from the most unlikely of places, a thing I was reminded of recently.

I was sitting in my local cancer center, speaking to the local oncologist who administers my chemo treatments (as opposed to the oncologist at the University of Kansas who did my surgery and directs my treatment overall) as once again I could not receive treatment for a pesky lung nodule due to an elevated white blood cell count. I was also experiencing my fourth UTI since my surgery on March 4. 

Since these infections had been recurring – and because my spleen was removed during the surgery, which further weakens my immune system – I asked what I could do to improve that system. I expected a suggestion of supplements, diet, and so forth. 

Imagine my surprise when she said, “You must find the source of life.” 

She went on to say she wasn’t referring to religion necessarily, but to what it is that makes life meaningful to me. 

Immediately, tears came to my eyes. Not because what she said made me sad or was a revelation, but because I already knew that and had lost sight of it. I know that we cannot just treat a body, and I’ve focused on keeping a positive outlook. Plus, the Avalonian tradition that is my spiritual home is, first and foremost, a healing tradition. 

Hiking in nature, alone or with loved ones, is always a source of joy for me.

But . . . the fact remains that I had stopped doing many things that bring joy and meaning to my life. Some of it is due to physical limitations. Hiking the longer trails into nature would be difficult right now, and I’m supposed to avoid getting into dirt, which limits gardening. Going on short adventures with the family pretty much ground to a halt because travel has been uncomfortable with surgical drains and such (and COVID-19 didn’t help). I haven’t even listened to music much, which tells me perhaps I was heading into a slight depressive state.

Gardening proves rewarding as well as a connection to the Earth.

Well, enough is enough. 

For gardening, there are gloves. 

For hiking deeper into nature, there is taking my time and plenty of breaks until I rebuild endurance.

For adventures, we’ve restarted short local excursions to a nearby lake and trails. COVID or not, natural outdoor areas and picnics are very doable.

For music, there is remembering to turn on the radio. And figuring out how to connect the iTunes from my computer to the iPad for easy listening around the house.

Another thing I miss a great deal was actively learning and sharing the learning – and helping people connect to the information they seek is satisfying work under the same umbrella. Before health issues and the pandemic began, I worked part-time at the local library. I had enjoyed this aspect of the job immensely. Frankly, I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed it. The pandemic has taken that away for now as my library only does curbside and bookmobile deliveries and most part-time staff is on furlough. I don’t blame the director a bit for keeping it locked down – our area isn’t the safest as far as people needing to do their part. But still, I miss it so much. 

The local hearth of the Daughters of the Sacred Grail is another missing piece of this learning/sharing element. The hearth usually meets every Wednesday evening and is a place of studies and sharing as well as sisterhood, and has been a part of my life for 15 years. The pandemic has shut down our in-person meetings, and online group chats really don’t cut it for a group like ours. Yes, it’s nice for seeing the beautiful faces and hearing their voices, but a group meeting with a lot of back-and-forth among six or more women is difficult on Zoom. 

So, until this cranky year is done messing with us all, I will be continuing to do what I can to find a way to fulfill this mental and emotional need. Some of it may come through this blog, which has been a bit neglected other than the card of the day. Perhaps one good thing to come from months of limited activity is a refocus on this online outlet as well as a few other projects. I’ve got a Yule Oracle deck on the backburner as well as the idea for a compilation-style book about experiences with the Crone (both everyday women we know and goddesses). Plus a few fiction stories to complete. We shall see. 

Regardless of the steps I take to tap into my “source of life,” I know that this expression from my doctor will come up in the future when I see others struggling in one way or the other. It doesn’t matter if we are suffering, as I am, from Stage 4 ovarian cancer or severe depression or the loss of family or friend: without tapping into our source of life, we are all lost. Here’s hoping we all can connect to our source in these difficult times. 

Blessings of Avalon to you all,



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Today we have a powerful figure from the Wildwood deck, and though she is serious I shall take her as a good omen.

Today is the last day I will post a card for a while. Tomorrow I have an early doctor’s appointment in Kansas City and the few days following it are days I’m taking for myself and my family as I prepare for major surgery next week with a hospital stay of at least 3-4 days followed by a 6-8 week recovery.

Though surgery of this magnitude is a bit scary, it is possible because the three rounds of chemotherapy I had for the Stage 4 Ovarian cancer did its job: shrinking the mass and the spread of the cancer enough that surgery is possible. This could have taken 6 or 9 treatments – or treatments might not have worked at all. Given I have had no complications and just a few side effects from treatment, I feel blessed and as though the Universe has my back.

It’s not just the universe. The family, spiritual family, and friends who have risen up and supported me far beyond what I ever imagined has surprised me and warmed my heart. So many cards, care packages, and messages of support and comfort! My sister created a “Team Peej” shirt (my nickname is PJ and becomes Peej to many) for family and friends who wanted to wear their support literally, and the $10 per shirt that she charged was sent to me to help pay bills. My coworkers and the library where I work were amazing, with a kick-cancer’s-butt bag, covering shifts I couldn’t work after chemo treatments, and keeping a positive attitude in the forefront.

My boyfriend and his daughter, our Kiddo, have followed my lead with the positive, I’m-beating-this attitude that I needed through this journey. They are my heart and a huge part of what I’m fighting for; we have too many adventures and hiking trips to do yet. Allen also created my own personal Ovarian cancer mascot (teal is the color for that, just FYI): A heartfelt Bigfoot!

Art by Allen Childers at ChildersArt Studios

I have heard from many of YOU, the blog readers, as well – messages of hope and support when I shared my cancer journey a couple months ago. So no matter how much negativity you see and hear on the news and social media, do not be fooled – there is so much love and help out there just waiting to be acknowledged.

Now, here is your card of the day:


READING POINTS: Appearing at a time of rich nurturing and protection, of learning and initiation, when loving and fertile relationships, both human and universal, abound, the Green Woman mediates the sacred sovereignty of the Earth’s soul and can show the path to understanding and communion with nature. But with this blessing comes responsibility. Remember that this glorious, magnanimous and generous spirit can live through you, radiated by the sacred breath of life and given to others who need guidance and healing. Learn from the abundant and joyous spirit of the Earth and be at one with the world and your true self.

DESCRIPTION: The Green Woman, disgorger of nature, crowned with ferns and wild roses, breaths the divine word of life. Her calm, serene expression is steady and full of graceful sovereignty. Around her neck is the golden Celtic gorget representing the sun throughout the year. The golden amber cup before her has within it the milk of love and nurturing and the sheela-na-gig on its side represents the life force of all women. The Green Woman symbolizes the forest at midsummer. Here, amide the luxuriant foliage, small animals and birds of the Wildwood live and build their homes, creating a whole ecosystem within the branches and a safe haven for the innocent and vulnerable beneath its roots.

MEANING: The Green Woman encompasses the female archetype of wildness and green energy. Her presence balances that of the wild man and represents the earthly manifestation of female solar energy and the rich bounty of the Great Mother. She also represents the goddess of the land, sometimes expressed as Sovereignty, who challenges all comers to brave her tests and to offer those who succeed the gifts of inner kingship and love and a deepening bond to the riches of the Earth. From her pours the glorious light of the midsummer sun, blessing everything it touches with life and boundless energy.

This figure is complex and subtle but highly dynamic in her interaction with anyone who seeks to understand the nature of the Wildwood mythos. She mediates the sacred blessing of earthly fertility, and the beasts that inhabit it, and forms a deep bond with the seeker who wishes to attune to the rhythm of the Wheel of the Year.

In the Arthurian tradition, she validates the kingship of Arthur by bringing him the sacred sword and establishes him as a guardian of the Hallows of Britain, sometimes appearing as the Lady of the Lake, who fosters both Arthur himself as well as the young hero Lancelot. In other stories she manifests as the Flower Bride, sought after by more than one of Arthur’s great knights and offering the deep bonds of matrimony and joy to those with whom she shares her bounty. At its heart, her sacred role is the initiator of the human individual into the realm of the Wildwood.

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

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Is it time to eliminate some negative influences in your life? Ixchel and Jaguar are here to lead the way.

Ixchel – Medicine of the Rainbow Jaguar

Ixchel protects you now as you transition from one life phase to the next. With her rainbow light, this guardian goddess instructs you on how to use great power with wisdom, to nourish only what is worthy. Using Jaguar Medicine, with perfect timing, she confronts that which is unworthy of he devotion, eradicating destructive forces and creating space for healing relief and rebirth. Her presence is in the wild power of the Jaguar, the renewal promise of the rainbow, and divine feminine creativity. All darkness shall overcome.

Guidance: Ixchel holds Jaguar medicine. Jaguar thrives in many environments, being able to climb, run, and swim. Because of its mastery over height, distance, and water, it is said at a spiritual level to hold power through all dimensions. Its medicine brings the ability to to move in darkness without fear, to see clearly through chaos, to evade and to destroy. Jaguar medicine is fierce, decisive, powerful and irreversible. Ixchel bring you this medicine now for your own soul journey.

Ixchel’s teaching includes her story of falling passionately in love with a man who did not respect her. Eventually, to get away from him, she shapeshifted into a jaguar, becoming invisible whenever he sought her out. In this way, she evaded him and saved herself – and the world which relied upon her bounty and vitality – from destruction. Ixchel teaches us of the need to confront what isn’t working in our lives, including the influence of negative people. Jaguar is not a half-way medicine. If we allow unworthy influences to take up residence in our minds, our hearts, our souls, they will eventually be our undoing, eroding our happiness, self-esteem and ability to fulfill our passionate purpose. Ixchel brings Jaguar to remind us that exploitation, abuse, and disrespect are unacceptable and must be dealt with effectively, according to correct timing and with absolute certainty our hearts. This isn’t about harming another but about cutting off their influence in our souls.

Jaguar medicine is a great power and can be used for good or ill. Purity of heart and mind becomes increasingly important as spiritual power grows. Make yourself unavailable to negativity, gossip, or ill will. Seek out the honest and the constructive. Share your power and devotion judiciously, and only with that which serves your true values.

Earth Warrior Oracle by Alana Fairchild and artist Isabel Bryna

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The last week has brought about the typical scene on social media with folks sharing their New Year resolutions. While I haven’t made a resolution in a few years, I usually like to encourage others. This year, all I could think of everytime a friend asked about resolutions was this: to live.

No, not to live as in living fully or intentionally – as in living in the physical sense. 

Some who follow the blog may have noticed I’ve been irregular with daily card posts, which is something I’m good at doing even if meatier posts might be less common. That’s because of a personal health issue that has rocked my family.

I have cancer, specifically Stage 4 ovarian cancer. 

When I first learned this news, I didn’t intend to share it here at all. But as the weeks went by and after the reality of my first chemo treatment hit, I realized that accepting, fearing, and fighting this is strongly linked to my spiritual life and beliefs. 

My local clinic gave me the news about the ovarian mass and that it was likely cancerous on Halloween. They quickly referred me to an oncologist at Kansas State University Medical Center. After getting such news on Samhain eve, one’s perspective of the ancestor altar and the holy day shifts a bit. Somehow, I felt closer to those whose photos and memorial cards graced our family altar – I felt their whispers in my ears more than normal. 

On the other hand, seeing the altar was also a motivator to do what was needed to be as healthy as possible going into treatments. I’m simply not ready to join these ancestors! So, chug a couple protein shakes a day (as my body is not processing regular protein correctly and I’ve lost 40 pounds) – check (though I have to admit it’s been difficult with our holiday schedule the last couple weeks)! Driving to and from Kansas City for consultations, a colonoscopy, and biopsy – check! (Though I didn’t have to do any of those alone – my boyfriend or my sister were with me.) Try to walk or do yoga as well as some arm weight exercises to rebuild muscle – check! 

Receiving my educational meeting about the chemotherapy was eye opening. Of course, there are many possible side effects and a 90% chance of losing my hair. As I’ve approached the two-week point after my first chemo treatment, when I was told to expect the hair loss, every time I run my hands through my hair or comb my hair, I’m thinking “will it start falling out now?” The hair loss actually started this weekend, and is a bit of a downer even though I was prepared for it. 

Aside from the typical identity issues women often have with their hair, my mind ran to the very witchy concern of my hair falling out in public places where people could easily get a piece of it (I dare say that’s not a typical cancer patient thought). Though I’ve cut my hair short to prepare for this change, it’s still in the back of my mind. I took to wearing a knit hat when going out this weekend. 

Another side effect is neuropathy, which has happened in my toes, bottom of the feet, and fingertips. Handling my cards for the first time after the neuropathy kicked in, I was stunned that I did not feel the energies of the cards as easily. I have no idea whether it’s the physical neuropathy or my mindset about my digits that is causing it, but it definitely sat me back in my seat a bit. 

On the bright side, my spiritual community (as well as family, friends, and coworkers) has been incredibly supportive and generous. I’ve received many care packages that spoke to my spirit as well as my physical needs, and I know there is a ton of healing energy coming my way. From “Suck It, Cancer” coloring book and healing stones to teas and warm socks and hats, my family and community is taking care of me in a way that is both humbling and encouraging. Trust me when I say there is a lot of love and kindness in this world – no matter how much you see in the news that suggests otherwise. 

Learn Symptoms to Catch it Early!

OK, I’m using the end of the post to share some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer because it can be really subtle and confused with other issues. If you have a few of these symptoms and they aren’t going away, please see your doctor or clinic! I thought I was experiencing serious digestive issues combined with premenopause; I had NO IDEA my health problem was so dangerous. Please don’t take your life for granted, ladies, and pay attention to these signs:

  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Increased size of abdomen or swelling 
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Feeling full after eating a small amount
  • Pain during sex
  • Urinary changes, such as frequency or urgency

Thank you for patience with my posting and hijacking the blog for the day. Blessings of Avalon to you all!



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I don’t know exactly why I keep reaching for the Halloween Oracle during the summer – perhaps my subconscious hopes it will help usher in the cool fall weather. I could only hope.

Regardless of WHY I picked this deck, it delivered a set of cards that exemplifies a process of healing. We had one like this last week, but this is in a different direction. Often, this work is done close to Samhain, but perhaps some of us need an early start.

This set brought to mind the need to come to terms (and peace) with things that have happened in our family’s past. Generational wounds can damage people for decades (or longer), and there’s no need to keep carrying that damage with you. Remember whatever it is you need to let go of, and perhaps try to remember some good things from that same time as well. Move on to considering your ancestors, whether they be great great grandparents that committed and hid a damaging secret or a parent who did not know how to love.

The final card is Forgiveness – and this can be so very hard to do, especially when you cannot safely (or practically) deal with the wounder face to face. But forgiveness doesn’t mean letting them off the hook – it’s really more for you. Letting go of those hurtful acts gives you more room for love and growth. Again, it’s hard, and that’s no lie. I’ve been working on this with one relative for about a decade. But do try.

Blessings of Avalon!

THE LAMP – Remembrance

I light a single candle
Within a lamp for you
A single flame in the darkness
That reflects my heart so true.
While it is a tradition to carve a jack-o-lantern to scare away the spirits, it was an older tradition still to light a candle or a lamp on Halloween night and leave it at the window as a loving guide for those who have passed.

Both as a symbol of remembrance and also as a kind of “leaving the lights on” for those who may wish to come home, the lamp was left on to illuminate the night and perhaps even the sadness that was felt because of the passing.

This card reminds us that it is a positive thing to remember those who have passed by celebrating their life rather than mourning their death. For those with whom we did not have an easy relationship or even those we did not like, leave us with valuable lessons. Sometimes, we learn more from our nemesis than we do from our friends and so the darkness can illuminate our strengths and our true values so that we can live them ore clearly and fully.


ANCESTORS – The love and legacy of our DNA

I walk in their footsteps
Their wisdom inside me remains
I am unique, yet carry a legacy
Their blood runs in my veins

Whether or not we know our ancestors, we are the product of those who have lived before us, DNA-wise. Externally, we may have the body type of our father, our mother’s eyes, our grandmother’s nose, our great-grandfather’s skin tone.

On the inside, it gets even more interesting. We know now that we can “inherit” the way our body works, blood types, genetic disorders, even propensities for aspects of brain function like introversion, musicality, and mathematics.

Many Pagan paths associated with Halloween believe that we are born perfectly imperfect to be exactly what we are meant to be. What does this mean? It means that the gifts our ancestors left us and the unique synergy of the combination of the physical, mental, and physical that is created within us, sets us up perfectly to achieve our ultimate purpose.

Should the Ancestor card bring itself to your attention, know that you are ready and able to action your birthright of power. You have the support of those who came before you. There may be challenges or struggles but you have everything you need to overcome them. You will prevail!


FORGIVENESS – Reducing burden

A wrong is done
Consequences you cannot deny
But to hold a grudge is to drink poison
and think that the other person will die.

Being a cold-season festival, Halloween is the perfect time to pause and think about how things actually are in our lives and what heavy burdens we do not wish to carry through these harder, leaner times. Some of this heavy-heartedness may relate to old relationships or grievances. Some may relate to negative feelings we hold onto tightly about others and even a lack of compassion for the “mistakes” we have ourselves made.

It is said that it takes a “big person to apologize” but in many ways it takes an even bigger person to forgive. When we hold grudges, the negative energy is incredibly toxic. It is like drinking a poison and expecting the “other” unforgiven person to die! Whilst we may even harbor feelings of revenge (and to be honest, that does feel good for a while), it is important that we move those feelings along to forgiveness and release as soon as possible for our own health and wellbeing.

If you have chosen this card, think about who it is that you could be forgiving – and that includes yourself.

The Halloween Oracle by author Stacey Demarco and artist Jimmy Manton

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Healing is often talked about in Pagan or New Age communities but often any purposeful action behind the words is missing. Sometimes, we all need a little extra help in becoming healthy – whether it’s physical, mental, or spiritual health in need. This ritual is an excellent tool to give the participants some extra healing energy while also helping to refocus their minds on what they need to heal.

Ritual Premise

I’ve recently mentioned the Irish goddess of herbalism, Airmid. The idea is to invoke the spirits of Airmid and her brother Miach to help send healing energies to ritual participants. I considered writing a short post just about Airmid for anyone unfamiliar with the goddess/faery healer, but I decided that it would be difficult to beat the classic essay by Erynn Rowan Laurie from Issue 25 of Sagewoman. Click here to read it.

An herbal healer as shown in the Druid Plant Oracle deck. Image copyright – Will Worthington.

An herbal healer as shown in the Druid Plant Oracle deck. Image copyright – Will Worthington.

Attendees bring a sprig of fresh herb or small sachet of dried herb, taking turns explaining what the herb’s use is spiritually and physically, and then sews it onto the cloak that is on the center table. When the herbs have been sewn on and the cloak blessed, the cloak is used to direct healing energies to the participants.

After this, you can add a seasonal celebration before the cakes and ale if doing this at a sabbat. I often do this at Midsummer and honor the Sun with a game of roll-the-hoop or something similar within the ritual circle.

A Note About Scripted Rituals

I’m not fond of scripted rituals. I prefer that participants know the outline and concepts behind the ritual and simply deliver the words that feel right at the moment. The following ritual does provide wording for different things, but feel free to just read it, learn the gist of it, and present it in a way you enjoy and makes you comfortable. 


Set up a ritual table in the center of the circle that is clear of all objects except a needle, thread, and snips or small scissors. You can place the cloak on the ground and sew the herbs on that way, but a table makes it easier, especially if your knees aren’t what they used to be. Another table should be set up on the edge of the circle for a chalice or small cauldron with whatever you use as holy water, smudge, god & goddess or elemental items/offering plate, and cakes and ale.

Cleanse the space with your preferred method. I typically sain the area by sprinkling what I consider holy water: moon-charged water with 9 drops of Chalice Well water added in.

The ritual leader can conduct the entire ritual by his or herself, or split into two parts for a high priest and priestess. You can assign parts to others as desired, particularly the quarter calls. If you have a great storyteller in your group, you may assign them the task of learning and telling the story. Another possibility for a group with at least four people comfortable with acting out sacred drama is to act out the story of the physicians, with roles for Airmid, Miach, Dian Cecht, and Nuada. As I’ve discussed before, sacred drama can make a ritual amazing.

The Ritual

Smudge participants and enter into the circle as normal. Use these simple quarter calls or whatever ones you prefer – depending on who is in the ritual, I will sometimes substitute quarter calls with honoring the Realms of Land, Sea, and Sky from the Celtic cosmology.

Air (east): I call to the spirit of Air, breath from the east.

Fire (south): I call to the spirit of Fire, energy from the south.

Water (west): I call to the spirit of Water, blood from the west.

Earth (north): I call to the spirit of Earth, flesh from the north.

If you wish, you can add the common chant, “Earth my body,” at this time, doing it multiple times to build the energy.

Now, tell the story of the Physicians of the Tuatha de Danann:

The Physicians’ Story

Here the facilitator summarizes the story of the physicians as desired. See the last blog post to learn the story.

After the story is finished, call Miach and Airmid:

Ritual Facilitator: I ask that the spirit of Miach join us in our circle. May his selflessness and desire to heal and be healed be reflected those here today. May his wisdom and skill be infused into this world for the healing of all. So mote it be.

Ritual Facilitator: I ask that the spirit of Airmid join us in our circle. May her desire to harvest and to sow healing wisdom be shared among those here today. May we continue to learn her healing secrets so her tears are not wasted. So mote it be.

Ritual Facilitator: Now, we will take turns stepping forward to share our own herbal knowledge and to imbue this cloak with healing power.

Participants take turns stepping forward, explaining their herb’s powers, and sewing it on. It is a good idea for one of the ritual organizers to start this off to help others be more comfortable in knowing what to do. An example is,“I bring plantain, a wild-growing herb good for healing the skin and small wounds.” After all the herbs are sewn onto the cloak, dedicate the cloak.

Ritual Facilitator: Now that we have brought forward all the healing herbs available to us, we will now dedicate this cloak to healing. Though we do not have their healing well, we will sprinkle holy waters from this sacred chalice onto the cloak.

Facilitator takes the chalice and sprinkles water from it onto the cloak.

Ritual Facilitator: We will now use the healing charm of the physicians of the Tuatha de Danann:


Bone to bone

Vein to vein

Balm to Balm


Sap to Sap

Skin to skin

Tissue to tissue


Blood to blood

Flesh to flesh

Sinew to sinew


Marrow to marrow

Pith to pith

Fat to fat


Membrane to membrane

Fibre to fibre

Moisture to moisture

Ritual Facilitator: May this simple cloak be imbued with the healing power of Airmid and Miach so that it may facilitate healing for us all. Now, I will bring the cloak to each of you and place it around your shoulders. When you are done receiving the energies, remove the cloak and return it to me.

Go around the circle and put cloak on attendees one at a time, keeping your focus on the healing for each individual. Sometimes it will be physical healing they desire, but other times a spiritual or mental healing – try to be grounded and supportive in your energies as you take the cloak around the circle.

After you’ve gone all around the circle, you can add a chant or toning that you feel focuses on healing – or use sound vibrations like that from singing bowls or gongs, which are becoming better known for healing work. I was trained to use a toning that goes: E-A, E-A, E-O. Each vowel is toned individually and held for a long as possible. You can use anything you wish.

At this time if you want to do a seasonal observance, do so.  

To help reground the circle, distribute the cakes and ale with the traditional blessings of “May you never hunger” and “May you never thirst.” Start to close the circle by thanking Miach and Airmed:

Ritual Facilitator: We thank the spirit of Miach for joining us. May his story continue to inspire us on our healing journey. Blessed be!

Ritual Facilitator: We thank the spirit of Airmid for joining us. May her wisdom and dedication to healing continue in us. Blessed be!

Air (east): We thank the spirit of Air, for breathing new life into us. Blessed be!

Fire (south): We thank the spirit of Fire, for re-energizing us. Blessed be!

Water (west): We thank the spirit of Water, for cleansing us. Blessed be!

Earth (north): We thank the spirit of Earth, for regrounding us. Blessed be!


“May the Circle be Open” chant to close


Well, that’s it. If I’ve left out anything or if you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll answer a soon as possible. As we are between the Vernal Equinox and Beltaine, we are heading into prime time for this ritual, though it could easily be done through early fall in most regions.

Until next time, blessings!


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Mistakes are a part of life, yet we can be really hard on ourselves when we make them. This subject has been on my mind a lot lately, and I know a lot of folks who berate themselves for past missteps. Many of these are people I care for quite a lot, and seeing them tear themselves apart over water that’s under the bridge is rather heartbreaking.

And let’s be clear – I’ve made plenty of my own missteps. With family, friends, significant others, job choices, and so on. But with a couple exceptions, I prefer not to look at my mistakes as setbacks. I view them a little differently. Below are five reasons why.

plot twist


5. Yes, you are spirit, but you are also human.

There’s a quote from Pierre Teilbard de Chardin that makes the rounds quite a bit: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” If you believe this line of thought, you should definitely cut yourself a break because, quite frankly, the human experience is messy.

The constant struggle balancing our physical needs and desires, our logical thinking and ego, and our spiritual center can be difficult. Most of us go through periods in our life when we are either angry, sad, confused, or one of the many other feelings that can cause us to less than ideal action or to just plain feel bad.

But whatever happens in our lives, we are just humans. Yes, we have amazing abilities, but we also have stunning flaws and desires. Not all of this is bad – it’s just part of the human experience. Sometimes physical or emotional pain is part of the human experience, especially if you subscribe to the idea of soul agreements. That leads us to No. 4:


4. It could be part of the plan. Yes, your plan.

“I planned to make mistakes and for crap to happen to me?” you ask dubiously.

Well, maybe. Some folks subscribe to the concept of soul agreements, or relationships and challenges that could be part of your spirit’s plan for this lifetime. Most agree that soul agreements are made between you and other spirits – prior to this human incarnation – to be part of the same family or to have some other relationship. Sometimes these agreements have a very positive spin (for example, soul mates or soul friends), but other times they are intended to give the soul something difficult to experience and overcome.

Honestly, I once had a huge problem with this concept. Who would choose a debilitating disease? Who would want a life of poverty? Who would opt for an abusive parent or spouse? The idea that I would choose a miserable father, a miscarriage, and a failed marriage as things to deal with in life infuriated me. As time passed, however, I began to see how these different people and events lead me to other things that I needed to learn or just needed in my life.

How we deal with challenges – whether we continue to respond like impudent children and with anger instead of with understanding and compassion (yes, compassion for ourselves) – may be part of the bigger picture for your soul. Life lessons aren’t always obvious when they are happening. So if you screw up and have to deal with the fallout, deal with it and move on – your ability to do so may well be the goal of the lesson plan that you yourself wrote.

worst pasts


3. Every mistake can be a learning experience – if you let it.

Who learns anything by always being perfect? If we never fail, we don’t learn perseverance. If we never tempt an exploration, it’s difficult to make a discovery.

Sometimes, all we really need to learn is to relax and see our mistake from a different perspective. Richard James, the developer of the Slinky toy, was a mechanical engineering trying to develop a specialized spring for ships. His mistake for ships turned out to be a huge success in the toy market – but only because he could see the potential in his booboo.

In other cases, our mistakes and the resulting pain is a cue to slow down and look at what we’re doing and adjust our path. If you keep falling for the wrong kind of person in relationships, maybe you need to examine what it is about that type of person that draws you even though you should know it won’t work. If people take advantage of you, perhaps it’s time to balance your kindness and generosity with the strength to stand up for yourself when needed.

No mistake need be a waste of time – there is something to learn from them all if we look close enough.


2. It develops character.

No, seriously! Anyone who’s delved into creative writing can tell you that if nothing bad ever happens to a main character, there’s no story. Well, the same is pretty much true of real people. Those who come through many mistakes and struggles are often those with great insights and the ability to help others see that they can overcome their own mistakes.

Besides, when all is said and done and folks are gathered at our funerals, do we want them to just say, “Oh, she was so nice”? Or do we want there to be some stories they can share and laugh and commiserate over? A life of good stories is not a wasted life.

fit in meme


And because I’m an eternal smarty pants, the number one reason NOT to beat yourself up over mistakes is:


1. Mistakes in your past give you double the memes to share on Facebook!

This one should be self-explanatory to anyone with a Facebook account!

Until next time, bright blessings.



Note: To the best of my knowledge, the memes in this post are free to use.

© 2014 PJ Graham

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Winter holidays have come and gone, and many of us are left feeling like the months of January and February must simply be gotten through until the warmth of spring returns.

As an introvert and someone who enjoys curling up with a good book, I’ve never really felt this way. But a lot of people have a difficult time once the hubbub of the holidays is past. Regardless of one’s personality, this time of year shouldn’t be overlooked or simply gotten through – it’s a key time for introspection, spiritual work, and clearing the way for future action.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Years ago, I researched Yule traditions for a study focused on the wheel of the year. Along the way, I found that I’m not the only one that finds this season so potent. In the liner notes of his luminous album If on a Winter’s Night, artist Sting says:

“. . . there is something of the Winter that is primal, mysterious and utterly irreplaceable, something both bleak and profoundly beautiful, something essential to the myth of ourselves, the story of our humanity, as if we somehow need the darkness of the winter months to replenish our inner spirits as much as we need the light, energy, and warmth of the summer.”

Waverly Fitzgerald of the School of the Seasons adds that while we often represent the cycle of dark and light as a battle, we do understand that both sides of the battle are important. She recommends taking time in this season to just sit in the dark and quiet.

“Honor the dark before calling in the light. This is the season when animals hibernate and nature sleeps and we can turn inward too . . . . This is a natural time for letting go and saying farewell. Release your resentments and regrets into the darkness, knowing they will be transformed.

Fitzgerald’s advice really hits home, as it is difficult to be introspective and to eventually move forward when we hold on to anger, guilt, and old wounds. This is hard stuff, to be sure. Sometimes we use these things to energize our actions or, worse, we start to build our identity around them. It is easy to resist this process of letting go when you feel like it’s taking away a part of you.

Frankly, I have no sage advice for accomplishing this. In my experience, I had to simply decide that anger was no longer going to rule and come to peace with the past hurts. Spiritual work came much easier after this point, though I admit to having to revisit this lesson from time to time. It helps if we can realize that when we let go of the things holding us back, other things will eventually take their place – and often more wonderful things than what we could have imagined.

After achieving this, it helps to maintain a centered and calm state of mind and to try to understand why things have happened in the past (to avoid a repeat performance). Meditation and journaling are good tools for this and often seem more fruitful during this dark season. And, as luck would have it, there are many ways to do both of these. Meditation can be difficult if you are new to it, but there are many recorded meditations available and some of you may even have an alternative healing practitioner or center that offers guidance with this. Of course, there are more traditional forms of meditation, such as mindfulness or serenity meditations. However, guided imagery or relaxation meditations can be easier to start with for many people.

As for journaling, a lot of people are turned off by traditional pen and paper journaling. But there is no reason not to use a laptop or ever an audio recorder. Some people even make their journal into a blog, choosing to make a more public statement with their thoughts and searching.

Whatever methods you use to look within and prepare for a spiritual spring emergence (and I would love to hear how any of you go about this), I hope we all take some time to look within during the remaining weeks of winter. After all, clarity, understanding, and peace are valuable things that seem more readily found within the stillness of winter. And perhaps the point of being in winter’s dark and cold is finding the light and warmth within ourselves.

Bright blessings,



© 2014 PJ Graham

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(This is the last of a series of posts focused on healing the self. The first three are here and here and here.)

Well, we’ve finally arrived at the last of the healing trifecta! Yes, we’re discussing spiritual or soul healing. Again, I’m no minister and have no pastoral counseling training. What follows are things I’ve learned over the years – either from personal experience or from those I know, especially my Hearth Sisters in the Daughters of the Sacred Grail.

Experience Beauty

These trees make a beautiful sight with the sunset in the background.

This seems so basic, but many of us run from one task to another without appreciating the beauty of our world. Watching a glowing sunset or clouds drift across a full moon, taking a walk in a woods, viewing an art exhibit, listening to gorgeous music, tasting fine chocolate (or whatever you prefer) are all ways of experiencing beauty.

Sometimes watching something ordinary and seeing it with an open mind and heart helps us appreciate the extraordinary gifts we have. Frankly, nothing takes my breath away more than watching my dog Zoe running in a field, free of inhibitions and full of joy. Whatever captures your fancy, having images and memories of experienced beauty is helpful when we face ugliness in the world or within ourselves.

Get Ecstatic

And I don’t mean just to get exited. I mean to stop worrying about what people think and experience an ecstatic state. This is a hard one for those of us raised in a more restrained culture where this might be considered immoral or a waste of time

Yet the ecstatic experience is really part of the human experience. Sadly, some people turn to drugs to achieve an ecstatic state, though modern versions of it include dance clubs and rock concerts. A drum and fire circle in a safe environment where people feel comfortable to drum, sing, and dance is a great way to cut loose and connect with that primal side.

This can help balance our lives and spirits by allowing us to feel the wild yin to our cultured side’s yang.


Walking a labyrinth is a meditative experience.

Well, you just knew this was going to be included, didn’t you? The ability to clear the mind and focus on one thing or nothing) can help you deal with stress and develop better focus. Whether you prefer the more traditional Buddhist style of meditation, guided imagery (what I call journey meditations), or another technique, being able to still your mind and body and calm the soul has tremendous value.

A physical method of meditation is walking a labyrinth. Walking the candlelight labyrinth at the Pagan Spirit Gathering a couple years ago was a tremendous experience of going within my soul. However, we can’t always set up a labyrinth in our yards or homes, but you can achieve some of the same goals using a finger labyrinth. There are labyrinth patterns to download here:

Trance Out

OK, trance has connections to both the ecstatic state and meditation. But it can be a great alternative to traditional meditation. It still helps you to disconnect and rest the conscious mind and tap into the subconscious.

Chanting, dance, breath work, hand drumming (or listening to) certain rhythms, or spinning wool with an old-fashioned drop spindle can well known ways to achieve a trance state. Yoga is another tool. Some people trance very easily by doing repetitive tasks such as crocheting or knitting. And don’t laugh, but I’m pretty sure I tranced once while snapping a wheelbarrow load of green beans!

Face the Shadow Self

You thought this was going to be a long section, didn’t you? Well, I’m just including it in the list because it is important, but I’m not going to delve into right now. Shadow work can be heavy stuff, so it will get a couple posts all to itself later.

Bright blessings!


(Photos courtesy of


© 2012 PJ Graham

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