Out with the old!

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my leaving the UK and arriving in Olympia. This has been a big, exhausting, amazing year for me. I have learned so much. Let me share with you:

*I have an irrational love of the British Isles. The land there feels good to me in a way that makes no sense. It took me a good 2/3 of my year to stop waking up missing the Welsh sky.

*When you follow the magic, the Current, the flow, whatever you choose to call it, it will not disappoint.

*I have some work that I need help with, issues I feel ready to lay to rest. I am committed to going to therapy in 2013.

*Nothing is more important to me than relationship; nothing is more valuable in relationship than willingness to do the Work.

*I don’t cast spells often, but when I do they are remarkably effective.

*Perfection is a lie. So is self-improvement.

*Getting what you want is often WAY scarier than not getting it.

*I love bigger than I ever thought I could.

*What I feared most ended up feeling incredibly obvious and a lot less scary than I believed.

*I am not cut out for general teaching.

*I learned how to make rosehip jam, pork carnitas, and convert a lot of my favorite dishes in to gluten-free ones (I can’t eat wheat or gluten, or most corn).

*I need to sing again.

*I need a vacation.

*I am in the process of learning how to accept others without negating myself. I am also learning to trust my Fetch more (much work is needed around getting my Fetch and Talker to communicate more clearly – this will be a big chunk of work for me in 2013).

*Most importantly, I felt like my open heart surgery came to a close last night. Kali sat before me on her white horse, grinning happily from ear to ear, holding my bloody, severed heart in her hands. I looked down at my wide open chest. And you know what I found? I found a bigger, blacker, bolder heart was underneath all the time.

Let us ride forward in to 2013. Follow the magic!

One year ago, Wales

Today, if the world hasn’t ended, marks one year since my family packed up and drove away from Lampeter. We pulled out of the driveway before dawn. We watched the sun rise on the incomparable Teifi Valley. Our car was headed for Cornwall to spend Christmas with friends before heading back to the United States. (I linked to my last real post in Wales over on today’s A Sense of Place.)

Teifi River valley; courtesy of Autumnsonata on flickr creative commons.

Teifi River valley; courtesy of Autumnsonata on flickr creative commons.

I find Washington to be far more wild than Wales. It makes sense: it’s not been as cultivated for as long as Wales has. The mountains are taller and there are more things that can kill you here. But the magic in the Welsh land hovers so close to the surface. The magic in Washington is more embedded in the tangled weeds and thorns. Maybe it’s hiding out, away from the freeways and masses of people. Most of Wales is comparably less populated. There is more space between people there.

Before we left Wales I did a tarot reading for us. The results included a rocky time financially, followed with material success. Overall it was a positive reading, revealing that this was a good choice for our continued growth. Those predictions ring true. We depleted our savings by moving across the world and getting back on our feet, but signs look like improvement in that area is on the way. Much of the magic that has occurred in the past year has been the inner work of shedding old friends, old patterns, old fears. I don’t doubt for a second that we are supposed to be in Olympia.

Tonight I’m hosting a small gathering to celebrate the return of the light, and I’ll raise a glass to Wales and my friends there. I’ll leave an offering for the Fey and spirits of the Land of here. They’ll get the first serving of the mulled wine and spiced cider I like to make. Most importantly I’ll get to celebrate the long night and the slow growth of the light with the people I love most in the world.

May you be with ones you love this season. There is nothing more important.

Bargaining with Kali

I’ve been quiet lately in this space. There is a lot of intensity in my personal life right now. The last I wrote with any depth was about praying to Kali. She continues to work in my life. I continue to ask her to slay the fears that limit my spirit, and she continues to give me plenty of opportunities to face my fears. I rarely like what I see, nor do I feel all that secure. I made a promise to my partner that I would not back away, that I would press forward.

Here is the image I have in my head: I am riding a wild white horse bareback as it is racing across a wide open plain. My hands are at my side. My chest is thrust forward. Riding another white horse ahead of me is Kali. Her black tangled hair writhes like snakes around her. She rides her horse backward, facing me. She is performing open heart surgery on me. In her hands is a long spear with a scythe tip on the end. My chest is bloody and wide open. She has my heart snagged on the tip of her scythe and she is pulling ever so gently as we ride like the wind across this vast land. She is smiling. She has no fear; it is not her heart oozing on the tip.

Does this mean I am a victim? No. I am a willing sacrifice. I am offering up the old boundaries, the old patterns, the old cage that held my heart. Break it, smash it, make room for something bigger, wilder, freer.

There are big, big changes afoot for my family in 2013. I did a money spell on the dark moon. Next week on the full moon I am sending out another wish bird spell for a house. The emotional work I am slogging through is an incantation for my transformation. I still pray: O Kali Ma, slay the fears that limit my spirit. And she has delivered! She has given me the opportunity to do just that. Lakshmi has poured abundance in my lap. Now I must pry open my hands, let go of what no longer serves, and make room for all that goodness.

Kali Devi

Kali Devi

Morpheus’ recent post on sovereignty and The Morrigan inspired me to get before my altar, to get even more specific with Kali. This is not a one-sided relationship, where I beg for crumbs from some feudal master. I am not Kali’s equal, but I have my own sovereignty. From one angle I am the one with my chest cracked open. From another angle I am Kali performing the surgery.

Ok, Kali, I said, sitting before my altar this morning. You have given me what I asked for. Thank you. I will not retreat. I will press forward. I will not retreat. But if what you are pressing me forward fo —


I didn’t get through my prayer before a loud voice in my head told me I had to sing. I went cold and thought, this could just be my brain. But I’ve never interrupted myself like that before. I must sing.


I went back to praying: If this is really going to happen, I need some security, some emotional, spiritual and material support. You give me that and I will sing. I will sing and you provide that. Help me. In this open heart surgery, give me a blood transfusion with the courage and strength to keep riding this horse.

Is it wise to bargain with Kali? We shall see.

What is the significance of singing? In what feels like a different life, I used to sing: jazz, opera, musical theatre. This January marks my 23rd year since I started studying voice. Twelve years ago I was given the opportunity to pursue a path toward professional singing and I chose theology. In the last four and half years (since my son was born) I’ve done barely anything at all. Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on the voice and the will. Having an infant gets in the way of rehearsals. Now I resist the painful rust that rests on my chords.

I am reluctant to go into the details of my love/hate relationship with singing. A history of performance anxiety and panic attacks certainly doesn’t help a singer’s career. I have long known that I would need to face this part of me again as I deepen my magical practice. My husband looked at me last night during a conversation unrelated to singing (and yet entirely related) and asked me, Do you want to be an initiate? Do you want to be half the witch I think you are? My answer is, of course, YES.

I will press forward, I will not retreat. The surgery is begun, let it be completed. Winter officially arrived yesterday with snow and cold; the winnowing season is coming to a close. Solstice is around the corner and winter feels like a good season in which to recover. Let the heart surgery continue.

I will sing. I might resist, but dammit, I will sing.




My weekly piece is up at A Sense of Place. It’s a modified piece you might have seen here at the beginning of the year. Over the next few weeks I’ll be tidying up older pieces. Once the new year begins, there will be more fresh content everywhere from me.

The end is also the beginning

The calendar year is winding down. Does anyone ever feel restful at this time? In the United States we seem to have a full six weeks of holidays, events, family gatherings, and shopping madness. While I go light on the last two (my family of origin are in Alaska and Australia), I’ve got more than my fair share of Other Stuff going on right now. Much of it is really exciting, so let me share some news with you!

Firstly, you might notice that my avatars have changed, both here and on the Facebook page. I took some time to get professional headshots taken with Rebecka at Regan House Photo. So worth it! I feel significantly more professional.

Secondly, I’ve written from time to time for Sarah Whedon over at Pagan Families. This week the blog moved to the Patheos family of blogs! I’ll be continuing to write for Pagan Families as the topics and spirits move me. Hopefully in the next week or two I’ll be posting about life in the NICU. This is an exciting move for a very specialized blog.

Thirdly, I’ve joined yet another group blog over at Patheos! I’ve been asked to be part of A Sense of Place, a group blog where four writers from around the world talk about the intersection of spirit and place. I’ve written quite a bit about that here and hope to move some of that to the new blog, as well. You might see some old posts once in a while, but look for a brand new post from me over there on Friday! Fridays are my days.

As for My Own Ashram, I’m still committed to this blog. It’s a wonderful place to gather my thoughts, challenge myself, and reach outside of my head. Thanks for being patient as I sort through some considerable Stuff in my wider life. I have a list of ideas to write about, as well as some more possible good news in the new year!

Life is really challenging right now, but truly, it is all good stuff. Like I said in my last post (more or less), if you’re not willing to let go of what no longer serves to make room for the new, don’t pray for abundance; if you’re not ready for the slice, don’t go asking Kali to slay the fears that limit your spirit!