Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving for Turkey Medicine

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving here in the US.

I had a great day with my family and friends. Thanksgiving for me is a strange time of year, the same goes for Christmas. So much emphasis on the food; it is tough to eat healthfully while eating morally (for myself that is). I am hoping someone out there relates.

“Lets talk Turkey”, I am vegetarian and I prefer to honor Turkey instead of devour him. In the days leading up to Turkey Day, I listen to people talk about their desire to “eat some turkey”! I listen respectfully yet I don’t share their enthusiasm. Tearing into the carcass of an over sized bird that has been bred to weight more than nature ever intended is not appealing to me.

I have a saying I came up with about 3 years ago, “I choose to indulge in the fruits of the harvest, instead of flesh.” I use this saying whenever asked why or how I could not eat Turkey on Thanksgiving. I am used to the way people look at me like. Its like I grew a second and third head.

All the hype about eating meat, makes the vegetarian less than excited about the holiday meal. Honestly, I prefer a nice roasted vegetable platter or even a Tofurky compared to the traditional holiday meal. Meat eaters may never understand, but HEY, that’s okay!

I am vegetarian for several reasons… One being health, another being environmental, but mostly because of my own spiritual beliefs. The path I have chosen encourages me to look at things as a whole and look at my place within that whole. When I do this, I realize that my actions have a ripple effect both positive and negative. I also realize that I have the ability to change the quality of my ripple and how I touch the earth. This is one spiritual law I follow. Becoming vegetarian is one way I reduce a potentially negative ripple.

If you have been following my ramblings, you probably noticed that I have an affinity for animals along with the lessons they have to teach us. I view animals as companions, guides, spiritual mentors, teachers, and yes even equals. In some cases, I even feel that animals are our superiors, but I will save for another thought.

I love giving thanks for all I have. Having a day dedicated to giving thanks is important. So many people give thanks to the Turkey because he/she has taken its place on the dinner table thusly making him into the Thanksgiving icon. I love that we recognize the need to thank Mr. Tom Turkey for his sacrifice, but Tom has more to offer. If we take a look at what Turkey has to teach us, we can be thankful for much more.

Turkey Medicine

Spiritual and Cardinal Associations:
Give-away, The Ultimate Sacrifice, Shared Blessings, and Harvest

Moon Phase: Waning Moon

Deity:   Cronus, Kronos or Cronos
Modron ro Morgon La Fey
Medinet Maadi
Ops… and other deities related to the harvest, bounty, and sacrifice.

Directional Earth and North

Time of Year: Autumn

Turkeys are members of the Chicken family. Wild turkeys eat a diet of nuts, including acorns and are very adaptable and resourceful. Turkeys prefer wooded areas where they can hide and forage. Domestic turkeys are not able to fly but wild turkeys can fly up to 50 miles per hour once they get started. The male turkey has a bright red fleshy wattle that grows from their forehead and dangles on the side of their beak. Many view the wattle as a symbol for the third eye and inner sight.

Perhaps the reason we have chosen Turkey as the bird of Thanksgiving is because many Native Americans viewed Turkey as “Give-Away Eagle” or “Earth Eagle”. Mayan and Aztec tribes raised Turkeys for sustenance and survival. Their entire body was used from feather to bone. Turkey also has a very important role in Native mythology. In many stories, Turkey plays a large role in creating the Earth and helping the first humans become nourished and established.

In many native tribes, a ritual is/was performed called a Give-Away Ceremony. Within this ceremony, people would gladly give away their personal treasures. This practice is sometimes hard to comprehend because it is contrary to our Western Cultural mindset.  We tend to feel we should horde all we have for as long as we can. You may be familiar with the phrase, “He who dies with the most toys, WINS!” Turkey played a vital role in these ceremonies, as he was the symbol of Give-Away. Through the journey of Give-Away Turkey plays a large role as symbol, guide, and mentor.

In these cultures, it is not the person with most toys who wins; instead, it is the whole society/tribe who wins. The tribe benefits because of the individual’s sacrifice and selfless nature. From the beginning, tribe members are taught to help one another and to maintain balance for the betterment of the whole. The person who gives away the most achieves respect from the tribe as well as balance for the tribe. Those who horde possessions or don’t give freely are thought to be selfish and greedy. The old are wise and light because they do not have needless possessions weighing them down or distracting them from true community. Turkey’s lesson is to teach us how to give freely.

Those who naturally have a giving nature, tend to have Turkey medicine somewhere in their life. I have read cards for many people who are giving by nature and I have pulled Turkey for almost all of them.

People with Turkey medicine aspire to help others. They tend to volunteer in soup kitchens, shelters, rescues, many become clergy, and so on. The important thing to remember about those with Turkey medicine is that they give freely and without the need for payment, acknowledgement, reward, or much of anything in return. Some well know people I would guess have Turkey Medicine are Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Jane Goodall, and so on. These are people who give/gave beyond monetary donation or material possession. They give/gave of their heart and soul for the greater good. Their offering is continual peace, wisdom, kindness, and hope.

Turkey teaches us to give freely, truly, and completely without strings, conditions, or exceptions. Turkey is gentle, caring, and knows that the sacrifice of today will lead to a better tomorrow. This is the reason Turkey has made its way to your dinner table as you celebrate the season.

Next time you sit down to your turkey meal, take a moment to remember the love and offering of Turkey. Take a moment to truly thank Turkey for its sacrifice and sustenance. Perhaps you will take the lesson Turkey offers further and you will find simple ways to live your life through sacrifice, peace, and offering.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Heard a Voice

When will sleep awaken me?

As listen to the pounding of my heart, I hear a voice.

She is calling to me faint and distant. I struggle to hear, Her words are not clear.

Swallowed by a dark pool in my soul the White Lady fights to break free.

Darkness looms as her white skin is lost and her hair covers her face.

The unseen force pushes her lower until she is consumed.

Strength is lost and bounty is drowned. Light is snuffed and hope goes missing.

When will the struggle make me strong? When will darkness release its bonds.

The dark pool rushes to my eyes and am broken in more places. Healing is but a dream, daggling in front of my eyes, always out of reach.

It has to get better. The light must shine again. Things have to cycle back to balance and happiness.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spiritual Transformation

Spiritual Transformation

Author: Leandra Witchwood
Posted: November 8th. 2009
Times Viewed: 463

We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart... and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together... I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude.
~Helen Hayes

To become spiritual begins we must experience stages of transformation. Some of these experiences are short and fast, while others seem to take forever. More often than not, spiritual transformations are painful and difficult. Nevertheless, these stages are necessary for achieving our ultimate goal in becoming spiritual beings on this plain and the next.

My most recent transformation began about two years ago and is nowhere near an end! I do admit some days change is hard to bear and I wish it would hurry the heck up, but then there are days when it all makes perfect sense and I don’t mind the lag.

It all started with a standard Medicine card reading. The intent is to focus my efforts in the right direction for the day or week depending on the situation and project. I could feel myself becoming unbalanced and disoriented on my path and felt a strong need for some clarity.

I know many of us who specialize in divination do this kind reading for others and ourselves all the time. Usually they are basic, the person in question draws a couple of helpful cards, and we are on our way. I honestly thought that this would be one of those simple readings. As the universe would reveal, I was very wrong.

I remember it clearly; I was sitting at my usual spot in the park over looking the Susquehanna River during my lunch hour, when I pulled a very distinct arrangement of cards. The spread I was doing was intended to show me how to achieve balance through Father Sun and Mother Earth (above and below) . The shock came to me as I revealed my cards. Instead of balance, they spoke specifically of change, and chaos.

First, I pulled Dragon Fly. On the surface Dragon Fly teaches us about Illusion. The story of Dragon Fly talks about how he was once a very powerful Dragon who was tricked by Coyote into the form we know today. When we look at Dragon Fly, we see the Magick bottle up within Dragon Fly through the iridescent shimmer of Dragon Fly’s wings.

Knowing this we also consider Dragon Fly to be a symbol of locked up potential. When we see Dragon Fly in a spread, it tends to mean that the person in question is not living up to his/her true greatness/potential. This blockage is usually evident through some sort of illusion the person places in his/her life.

Dragon Fly is also a symbol for change over time. It takes about 2 years for many Species of Dragon Fly to transform from an egg to an adult Dragon Fly. Therefore, as a reader I recognize that Dragon Fly is telling me that I will be entering into a 2 year transformation. Dragon Fly is also one of the few creatures equally associated with Air and Water.

For me, this card fell in the Mother Earth position. This position teaches us to receive the goodness Mother Earth has to offer through time and patience. This energy is of the Female trinity; Maiden, Mother, and Crone. This ever-changing female energy opens us up to creativity and psychic pathways.

Therefore, from the start of this reading I am told that slow change is coming two fold. I am also told that all seeds require time to germinate and need nurturing before they can grow into their true potential, again two fold.

The next card I pulled is for the Father Sky position. This is of Male energy and Warrior Energy. In this position, we are taught lessons of how to heal, how to move forward, and how to look at things in the material world. This energy is faster and plays a distinct contrast to female energy, which is slower and less analytical.

As I turned my second card to face me, I was dumfounded to see Frog. I was not sure what to make of this spread. I even looked up at my favorite tree for some clarity, but only found the words “accept it” instead.

I thought to myself, “Did I not shuffle properly? There is no way both of these cards could end up next to each other in this spread. However, there they were, and their message was clear.

If you have not guessed, Frog is another symbol for transformation. Frog’s association is with Earth and Water, which is only one of its many links to Dragon Fly. Like Dragon Fly frogs goes through a transformation, but only faster.

I sat back and knew that I needed to expect some serious changes. I knew that at least the next two years would be hard. Change is not always easy and lets face it we humans are not very welcoming of change, especially when the change promises to be BIG! Nevertheless, I was glad to have the warning.

I have moved past the two-year mark of this foretold transformation. I look back and see that so many things have happened. I was laid off from my high paying desk job, began working in the theater as a seamstress, started a business, ended the business, had a baby, developed some really great friendships, and then lost them.

So now, I am here… Where exactly is “here”? I am not sure yet. I know the journey is not over and there are more big changes coming. What I do know is that I have transformed.

What mattered to me before seems superficial. Having a high paying desk job that allows me to buy the latest and greatest is no longer a priority. Instead, I am happy working a low pay job that allows me to be with my family.

Instead of having, a bunch of friendships that are shallow and dare I say it… fake. I now focus on friendships that are meaningful, fulfilling, and pure.

I have to admit that through out these past couple of years I have taken some hard hits, so much that I have almost completely moved myself from my local Pagan Community. I have even shed myself of most Pagan friendships. Through it all, I experienced some severe depression, anxiety, and remorse over the people and things I lost.

Often I found myself alone to wallow in my self-pity, but it is through this solitude I found my strength and myself. Although this journey has been tough, I am walking forward with so much more than I had before. I have learned to listen to my inner voice more closely, which has drastically improved my empathic abilities. I am now more skilled in reading my Medicine cards, especially for others.

I am spending more time worrying about the Earth and my family, rather than worrying about being included in the next big ritual or concert. I have discovered the true character of those who do a very good job of pretending. More importantly, I have discovered my own true character, which surprisingly enough has not changed much. Instead, I have raised my standards.

I am spending more time teaching true seekers who want to learn and grow. I have shed the need to look “good” in the eyes of others and I am now starting to look good to myself. I focus less on the superficial and more on the bigger picture.

Now, I find solitude valuable. I am no longer afraid to be within myself as I find peace and enlightenment.

As much as change stresses us out, it is necessary. If I learn nothing from all I have gained and lost, I at least know that I have not yet reached my full potential and that I have the opportunity to keep going. When I was in the deepest darkest depression morning all I had lost, one thing pulled me through; I always have the opportunity to stand up and move forward.

Through pain, we know happiness and through self-discovery, we evolve. When faced with losing it all we have a choice to make. Do we deviate and weaken on our spiritual path or do we rise above to become our true potential?

In every event and through every trial we have a choice. Everyday, we are empowered to make that choice.

Article posted on WitchVox 11-8-09

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Vanishing in the Wind

When there is nowhere to turn and peace is lost…

When the dark water closes in and I can no longer breathe…

Where can I turn to right the wrong I know nothing about?

How can I lift the veil that conceals my sight?

How can I remove the blame that is unfairly upon me?

Pain has my heart… Sorrow fills my soul…

When it all rips me to pieces… I feel lost…

I stop to ask directions and backs are turned. I am still lost.

The road continues ahead with no light, no destination in sight.

There is no place to rest and feel at peace. That place is now lost to me…

Vanishing in the wind.

by: Leandra Witchwood
Original post: 11-5-08

Sunday, November 1, 2009

OMG! She's a FAT Priestess!

The sun was low in the sky as we gathered around the fire circle. Many of us were strangers but we came together in the woods to celebrate Mabon as a community. The circle was already laid out and lit with large candles glowing in the dim light of sunset. Each quarter had its own altar. North was decorated in brown, East in pink, South in red, and West in blue. The center altar was large with black white and red cloth draping down onto the grass. A large multi-tiered candle holder was center and lit with several white candles On either side sat statues of the God and Goddess nestled in several colorful flowers. The ground in front of the altar was heavily decorated with loaves of bread, flowers, and branches.

We were lead into a semi-circle around the fire by one of the apprentices. We had not yet seen the priestess so far everything was being run by her apprentices. As the chanting began and became harmonious, we heard a stunning voice come from the eastern side of the circle. She sang in harmony with our chant. We chanted, “Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali…” She accompanied us with powerful and beautiful voice singing, “Sacred Mother I hear you calling, Sacred Mother I hear your song...”

The power of this song and chant was amazing. I was blown away! It was creative, powerful, and magnificent. As the Priestess entered the circle, the apprentices slowed the chanting until it there was silence. As the Apprentices and Priestess went to the altar to begin the next stage of the ritual, I over heard the person standing next to me say, “OMG! She’s fat! OH MY GOD!.”

My jaw dropped! One, I could not believe I just heard what I heard. Secondly, I thought she was gorgeous. She wore a flowing blue gown with a black corset. I did not see her has being fat at all. She was not skinny, but she was in no way appalling or deserving of that comment. It became obvious to me that the people in that ritual were expecting her to be thin because she was experienced and knowledgeable. In their minds, people who have creditability are those with a thin figure.

Sadly, we seem to live in a nation where our size dictates how people react to us and our abilities. Sure, our nation has a serious obesity epidemic, but I think our perceptions of this issue are jaded. We are a nation that sends mixed message to one another. At the grocery store, we are bombarded with advertisements for packaged processed junk that fits nicely into a tight budget. Then, at the check out counter, we see ads and magazine articles telling us how to lose 20lbs in 10 days!

I honestly believe that the way we view one another and ourselves seriously affects our ability to be spiritual people and proficient in Magickal arts. If we are hung up on looks rather than talent, knowledge, and experience, we are missing the big picture. When we think someone’s abilities is contingent on their pant size we have some serious issues to over come.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I completely believe that to become a spiritual person you MUST take care of yourself. I also believe that taking care of yourself means you need to exercise, eat whole foods, drink alcohol moderately, no smoking, and keep a positive image about yourself.

Over the years, I have become mildly obsessed with nutrition and exercise. If you want to know the nutritional value of a food, I probably know it. I go to the gym at least 3 times a week and when I am not at the gym I get plenty of exercise walking the dog, working in my yard, hiking, and running after my two kids. My husband will be the first to say that I have trouble sitting still. He is surprised I do it long enough to nurse our son.

As I sit here at this moment writing this article, I am eating a spinach salad with carrots, tomatoes, red onion, and light dressing. This morning, I went to the gym and did my routine with my trainer for an hour and a half. Later I plan on digging up a large pant bed in my yard. According to my life style and doctor, I am very healthy. BUT! According to the media and medical community, I am not!

What I hear most about are the potential risks. The potential risks are not real if you do what you can to prevent them. With all the attention obesity and the potential risks receive in the media it seems that every single over weigh or obese person should be falling over dead at any moment. If the potential risk were really that acute we would be stepping over bodies as we walk down the street.

According to the medical community and media I should be falling down gasping for air and suffering a heart attack right now! Instead, I am eager to dig up deeply rooted plants in my garden after spending my morning at the gym. Something somewhere is a miss.

The fact is the Media is very good at using scare tactics to get our attention. If they didn’t use shocking tactics they would not stand out to catch our attention. The issue with these tactics is that it colors how we see people. This coloring dehumanizes our neighbors and dulls our view of what is acceptable and kind. Something that is not really that bad is made to seem like it is unbearably horrible, and we are encouraged to form a negative perception of the issue or person.

The reason people don’t get out there and live life if because they are scared of what consequences are before them. Years ago I was afraid to lead public ritual because I over heard what was said about the priestess. It was horrible and demeaning. Therefore, I began living in ways that might avoid encounters subject to un-necessary ridicule. No one needs the obvious pointed out at them. It was not until I got out and lead my first public ritual did I realize it wasn’t about me being inadequate.

I discovered that I am a good leader despite my weight and size. My abilities and knowledge have nothing to do with my size and weight. I know I am experienced and competent. In the face of potential ridicule and false judgments, I found that my inner power is my own. My inner power does not come from the people standing the circle with me. It does not come from my dress size or weight. My inner power comes from how I see myself. My inner power comes from the knowledge I have and the grace I give myself.

Over the years I have learned to love who I am, eat healthfully, and exercise daily. I have learned that these things make me healthy and confident. When I feel healthy and confident my Magick and spirituality are a flame to behold.

It is time to live each day as though it were your last. Get up and move. Get up and dance. Get up and enjoy the sunshine. Go outside and lay in the shade of a beautiful tree. Bring a picnic and enjoy the day, everyday!

My inspiration for this article came from Joy Nash. She is openly 224lbs and a size 18! She is speaking out for all of us who struggle with the “You must be thin” stigma we encounter everyday. Her videos are available on and they are very entertaining.

If you take nothing away from this article, please remember this: Many obese and over weigh people are very active and very health. Many obese people are not firmly planted on the couch stuffing their faces with junk. They are beautiful and deserving of respect and dignity.

One should never judge someone’s abilities by the size of their clothing. Spirituality and Magick don’t come in specific pant or dress sizes, they are all sizes to fit all.

Finally, it is not your weight that prevents you from doing what you want and enjoying life, it is your attitude.

Leandra Witchwood