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Posts tagged ‘Wicca’

The Importance of Ritual

All around the world and throughout time people have been engaged with ritual. Whether these ceremonies are elaborate or disarmingly simple they play a vital role for the human psyche.

Ritual allows us to step out of ordinary time. We pause and connect to something much larger than ourselves that also dwells within us. During ritual we seek the stillness that encompasses all. In essence we are creating a conscious awareness of the sacred.

This cognizance is easily observable in shared rituals such as: marriage celebrations, baby showers and even with funerals. Communities mark events as important by creating a formal way of acknowledging and experiencing that revered connection. Some rituals are done alone and may not be visible to others. Praying the rosary or lighting a candle can be solitary rituals.

Regardless of how many people are involved or the intricacy of it, ritual gives us space to offer our celebrations, our gratitude and our hope. It has the power to calm us and bring us to our center when chaos holds sway. The promise of returning to such a dwelling is why ritual continues to be practiced in its many forms.

If you don’t already, give yourself permission to incorporate ritual into your life. Discover some that resonate with you or create your own. Let the practice of ritual direct you in entering the place where connection, peace and hope reside. You will be glad you did.

Rain Dance of Celebration!

The rain has found its way here once again! For those of you not living in Northern California this may not register much of an impact. To the many folks who do live here or live in a similar climate where rain is scarce, any falling of water from the skies is cause for celebration!

In response to the rain, my daughter was doing “the happy dance” at her place of work regardless of who might be looking on at the time. She is not alone. Many of us are offering up gratitude and stepping out in the rain for even a small twirl around.

Feeling the rain touch your face, hearing the gentle sound it makes, seeing the rainfall drench everything and everyone in its path, speaks to a deep primal part of us that knows water means life. It brings renewal to the earth and to each one of us. The rain cleans things up and makes a clear path.

This is most appropriate for this day. In many traditions this day is a time to reflect on what has taken place during the past year. It is a time to let go of things that no longer need to remain in our lives. Perhaps we have grown in some way and need different things in our life to help us. Today is also an opportunity to look toward what we would like to create in our life. The cycle of a year is at play as we discern what we have harvested this season and what we want to harvest next Autumn. Important work can be done on this day.

My suggestion is to allow the rain to fall upon you. Let it wash those things that no longer fit away. Invite the rain to fill you with a sense of renewal and hope. Take some time to imagine the clear path it is laying out for you. Then think about what you want to encounter on the path. Be clear in your intentions for next year’s harvest.

If you get stuck or are unsure how to proceed you can call on the ancestors. The veil between Spirit and our physical world is thin at this time. Take time to honor the Elders in Spirit, those ancestors who are easily accessible now. Ask for their assistance if need be.

But first: dance in the rain! At least get your feet wet. I’m betting it will make a difference in how you feel and will give you the openness to proceed.

 

 

 

Dreams Manifested: Short Story Published!

I am beyond excited today! Today is the first time I’ve had the chance to see one of my stories in print! There is no describing the elation I felt when I saw the book cover!

Some time ago I fell head over heels in love with writing fiction that has a message for the reader. This publication represents the dawning of that dream into reality! I know that many other incredible things will follow. Never give up on your dreams! Ever!!!

I am sharing it here so that you may enjoy it too. I had fun writing this short story. It makes me smile!!! I hope it lifts you as well and inspires you to continue to reach for your own dream.

Here is a brief description of the story: “In this whimsical short story a Sea Witch teaches the reader some lessons of the sea and of life. If you are ready to experience some Magic and transformation within your life this book may provide some tools.” It is available as an eBook through this link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OGSASKO

Enjoy!

A Gift of Fox Medicine

Each day I like to start my morning by being outside. Luckily, my balcony affords me a gorgeous view of the Briones, which are rolling hills in Northern California. I begin my day there because Nature brings me to balance and offers inspiration. I am normally gifted with something that helps to direct my day and life. I say that it does because this concept correlates to my own beliefs and Native American teachings that remind us that life is sending us messages, information and guidance. Our job is to learn how to receive and interpret what is being offered.

I’ve witnessed all manner of wildlife and things simply by sitting still and observing the view. Today’s gift on the hills was the sighting of a magnificent, red fox. I saw it only moments before it bounded away into the corpse of trees, confirming my suspicion that it held messages for me. This fox approached the forest with a sense of adventure and lighthearted play.

Fox carries many attributes according to Native American teachings. What I took from the visit from this specific creature was the reminder that magic, the feminine, intuition, charm and subtle playfulness are the order of the day.

As I watched it bound away, I thought, “Why walk, when you can bounce?” Incorporating an openness to explore while playing really could be the definition of fun, at least according to fox. That is not all that fox offers though because a true adventure entails discovering our courage while testing our mettle. Fox knows that beginning the adventure with optimism and playfulness opens the realm to wonders never imagined in our past.

I full expect that the medicine of the fox is telling me to approach life expecting that an adventure awaits me just over the hill. I would bet it is already on the way. That is ok because fox also instructs that I will find magic when I honor the feminine and follow my intuition. I wish you could see my grin as I say, “Bring it on!”

RED TENT MOONLODGE GATHERING: AUTUMN IMMERSION

Come and learn Native American Traditional Teachings regarding women, their “Moontime” and their importance within the tribe or community. Discover how you can apply these teachings to enrich your own life.

You are invited to join me on SEPTEMBER 20, 2014 at Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, Children’s Chapel from 12:30pm – 4:30pm (PDT) for a Red Tent Moonlodge Gathering: Autumn Immersion. The church address is: 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek, CA 94549. Register via Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church’s link: http://mduuc.org/religious-education-programs/register-for-classes or contact adultprograms@mduuc.org.

Women of all ages come to rest, renew and remember your sacredness. Join Shelly O’Connell as she shares Traditional Women’s Teachings with you. We will dance, drum and join together on a journey to embrace the true radiance within each woman. Autumn Immersion will give each participant the opportunity to put the teachings into practice immediately. Together we will go deeper into the teachings this season.

Women ages thirteen and older are invited to attend. Workshop participants will bring one symbol of yourself as a woman to place upon the altar which we will create together. Include a journal for notes and homework. Suggested attire is comfortable clothing; long dresses or skirts, if you like, to remind you of your femininity.

Shelly received the Traditional Women’s Teachings from Native Elders. “These teachings completely changed and enriched my life!” she writes. Shelly says of the teachings, “Following the Traditional Women’s Teachings centers you and allows you to step into your wisdom.” Are you ready to step in to your own wisdom?

This will be a four hour workshop offered each season; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter with teachings related to each season. You may attend one workshop, a few or all, it is up to you. Suggested donation of $25.

*Painting by, Valoru*

Summer Solstice: the Seat of the Fire

Welcome Summer! Summer is many things and there are vast teachings about this season. Today I wish to honor the fire. Fire burns but it is also brings transformation and renewal. Fire represents Spirit and the elemental spark within all of life. Fire helps us to remember the intensity and passion present in life.

Take a moment to light a small flame or a large one if your location and responsible behavior allow it. Take whatever you wish to release or transform to the fire. It will be forever changed when you give it to the flames. Know that new life is coming, rejuvenation is on the way.

Let the fire teach you of passion and of life-force unleashed. Fire is a complex teacher. You will learn respect in working with it. This is important because it is powerful and it is sacred. Just as you are, my friend. Fire will help you to learn this truth.

Fire is the beacon that gathers the people back to living fully and honestly. Through its teachings we walk a Sacred Road. I offer my gratitude to the Spirit of Fire. Aho.

 

 

RED TENT MOONLODGE GATHERING: SUMMER TEACHINGS

You are invited to join me on MAY 31, 2014 at Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, Children’s Chapel from 12:30pm – 4:30pm (PDT) for Red Tent Moonlodge Gathering: Summer Teachings! The church address is: 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek, CA 94549. Register via Eventbrite: http://redtentmoonlodge.eventbrite.com

Women of all ages come to rest, renew and remember your sacredness. Join Shelly O’Connell as she shares Traditional Women’s Teachings with you. We will dance, drum and join together on a journey to embrace the true radiance within each woman.

Shelly received the Traditional Women’s Teachings from Native Elders. “These teachings completely changed and enriched my life!” she writes. Come and learn the original teachings regarding women, their “Moontime” and their importance within the tribe or community. Shelly says of the teachings, “Following the Traditional Women’s Teachings centers you and allows you to step into your wisdom.” Are you ready to step in to your own wisdom?

Women ages thirteen and older are invited to attend. Workshop participants will bring one symbol of yourself as a woman to place upon the altar which we will create together. Include a journal for notes and homework. Suggested attire is comfortable clothing; long dresses or skirts, if you like, to remind you of your femininity.

This will be a four hour workshop offered each season, on or around the full moon; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter with teachings related to each season. You may attend one workshop, a few or all, it is up to you. This workshop may be offered each month. Suggested donation of $25.

Book Excerpt-Second Installment

Okay here is the long awaited second installment book excerpt from “You’ve Got the Magic in You”. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Creative Commons License

This work by Shelly O’Connell, M.Div. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

 

… No longer questioning how a professionally made business card carries a personal message for me, or how Lillian knew that I would become her student, I pick up the phone to give her a call. I am in the process of locating a pen and paper to write down directions for our meeting location tomorrow when she answers. After my greeting and introduction she speaks, “Oh, it is you, dear. I am so happy to hear from you! How has the rest of your day gone?” I briefly relay my day including the reflection in the park and my conversation with Scott. “So he is on board then?” she asks. I confirm that this is true. Lillian remarks with a smile in her voice, “Let him know that I am not a wacko would you, dear?” I let her know that we had that conversation and he is open in trusting my judgment. “Well, I knew that you had faith in me, dear. It is certainty nice to hear you say that you did and I wanted to hear you say so out loud,” she states with a giggle.
“This is going to be fun,” I think.
Lillian clears her throat, “Well I should certainly hope so, dear. Life would be pretty dull without incorporating a bit of fun.” Indeed! My mind aligns with her statement. I carefully take down the address and directions Lillian gives me to her home. We confirm the meeting time as six o’clock tomorrow. I ask if there is anything else she needs or would like me to bring. She leaves me with a cryptic, “You will know, dear …

A Red Tent Moonlodge Gathering

You are invited to join me on MARCH 1, 2014 at Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, Children’s Chapel from 12:30pm – 4:30pm (PDT) for A Red Tent Moonlodge Gathering! The church address is: 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek, CA 94549. Register via Eventbrite: http://redtentmoonlodge.eventbrite.com

Women of all ages come to rest, renew and remember your sacredness. Join Shelly O’Connell as she shares Traditional Women’s Teachings with you. We will dance, drum and join together on a journey to embrace the true radiance within each woman.

Shelly received the Traditional Women’s Teachings from Native Elders. “These teachings completely changed and enriched my life!” she writes. Come and learn the original teachings regarding women, their “Moontime” and their importance within the tribe or community. Shelly says of the teachings, “Following the Traditional Women’s Teachings centers you and allows you to step into your wisdom.” Are you ready to step in to your own wisdom?

Women ages thirteen and older are invited to attend. Workshop participants will bring one symbol of yourself as a woman to place upon the altar which we will create together. Include a journal for notes and homework. Suggested attire is comfortable clothing; long dresses or skirts, if you like, to remind you of your femininity.

This will be a four hour workshop offered each season, on or around the full moon; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter with teachings related to each season. You may attend one workshop, a few or all, it is up to you. This workshop may be offered each month.

Birthday Ritual

Our lives call us to attend to the special moments. All over the world people have created rich and diverse ways to mark the milestones of life. Weddings, births, deaths and everything in between are indicators of this being something other than an ordinary day. Rituals assist us in fashioning ways to honor these sacred times. There are other methods to make note of these days, but today I would like to talk about ritual.

Ritual is simply a way to shift the mind away from the ordinary toward recognition of something other; I would say something sacred. It can involve a special location, time or place, many people or just one. Ritual may be a way to connect with the Divine, which is known by many names, or it may be to connect with our selves. However you view ritual I believe it has a fundamental place and purpose in our lives. I also think it is possible to design your own rituals. As long as they cause no harm to yourself or others, I say delve in!

For many years one of the rituals I enjoy has been in celebrating my birthday. Of course, it is always enriching to join with family and friends to partake of cake but I add a bit more. The morning that my day of birth arrives to remind me of another year granted I engage in a ritual bath. I always put red rose petals in the bath to remind me of the vibrancy of life. A few moments of quiet take place as I reflect on what I want to release and what I want to bring in for the coming year. I use the petals  to cleanse myself. Doing so I release anything that I no longer feel the need to carry. This makes way for new experiences, people and things to emerge. The softness of the velvety petals remind me that this year is filled with gentleness, Grace and beauty. My task is to remember this and notice it as much as I am possibly able. I always return the petals to the Earth with a small acknowledgment of gratitude.

Such a small ritual; there is no fanfare and yet it establishes a measure of stillness within me. I move forward each year from this place of ritual inviting the Sacred to reveal its Presence to me once again. I am never disappointed opening that door.

*Photo by Dennis Wong*