Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Being a Mother is…

Being a Mother is…

…knowing that some tears are frustrating, while some can be
funny, and others mean business!

…knowing when to laugh with your child and when to cry.

…knowing that a little spit-up on your clothes doesn’t mean
baby is sharing.

…knowing that a gentle lullaby sung form the heart is the finest pacifier.

…knowing that Breast Milk is the ultimate comfort food.

…finding joy in baby’s accomplishments from holding his head up higher longer, to his giant toothless grin, to his first science fair project, and beyond.

…knowing you are doing the best you can as long as you are
showing your children the love, consideration, and affection they truly need.

…knowing that no material possession in the world can gain your child's love and respect. Instead, discipline, self-respect, dedication, and kindness does the trick!

…finding total peace and fulfillment as your baby sleeps on
your shoulder.

…savoring special moments with your child while sleeping, breathing, walking, learning, singing, dancing, laughing, and crying.

…taking the empathy you feel for your child and applying it
to others in your life.

…feeling a great sense of accomplishment when your child
thinks of others before herself.

…knowing that big miracles with great lessons come in small

Monday, December 28, 2009

The TOP 20 for 2009!! Awsome!!!

A friend of mine e-mailed me today to congratulate me on writing the #2 essay in the top 20 essays of 2009 on The Witches Voice!

What a WONDERFUL surprise!!!! 

What an honor! I am excited and humbled to know that my ramblings were read and enjoyed by so many Witches, Pagans, and Wiccans on the web. 

I don't write essays very often... but when I do, I try to touch on  things that are beneficial to all of us. It is my goal to inspire and empower those who have been oppressed or dismissed, and change the perceptions of those who might have negative views of those who are oppressed or dismissed. I hope I can write something in the future that will inspire, touch, and help, similar to this single article!

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read what I have to say!

Bright Blessings,
Leandra Witchwood

Friday, December 25, 2009

Lesson of the Labyrinth, Part 1

It is solved by walking…

A traditional Labyrinth Mantra

There are a great many ways of applying the Labyrinth as a tool in our lives. You only have to use your imagination and walk a Labyrinth.

Labyrinths are unique and gentle teachers. A Labyrinth will awaken your inner wisdom and allow you to see the things you might over look. Labyrinths encourage your individual ability to become a better and more balanced person.

Some would argue or question how this solid structure or pattern could be gentle and flexible teacher. One person may it as too rigid. Another may see it as a bunch of meaningless lines. The fact is no matter your first impression; you will certainly change your view once you walk a Labyrinth. Their lines and patterns work with us instead of against us. They open us up to message and inner knowledge we might ignore.

I have studied and used Labyrinths for almost 7 years now. I was first introduced to them in a ritual during a spiritual retreat. The Labyrinth was made of corn meal on the green grass. At first it seemed strange to walk such an odd pattern, but when I did I was changed. Everything I was holding on to and hold back was freed.

If you have not yet experienced a labyrinth walk, I strongly suggest you look for one in your area and give it a try; It will be an experience you will not soon forget.

Labyrinths are beneficial to people who find it hard to meditate by using traditional, sedentary methods. I have also found labyrinths to be an exceptional tool for ritual and spell work. You are limited only by your imagination.

I would like to share with you some information so when you find a labyrinth in your area and decide to walk it, you will be knowledgeable about your journey. I have structured the information in lesson groups so the info is easier to take in.

Lesson One

Learning to Walk a Labyrinth

To begin this lesson you need a Labyrinth. Here is where I think most people run into trouble. Labyrinths are not available at Wal-Mart or Target. However, I think this is what makes them so much better than something you can purchase from a chain store or in mass quantities. Most Labyrinths are built by communities, and created by hand. Personally, I make 8’x8’ canvas labyrinths for individuals to use in their homes.

You will have to do some searching to find a labyrinth you can use, but it is not hard… and if you can’t find one you can make one!

You can search for a Labyrinth and Labyrinth Facilitators on The World-Wide Labyrinth Locator,

OK! So once you find a Labyrinth, how do you walk it?

Simply, you place one foot in front of the other and go… But for those of you (like myself) who need a little more detail here is some info you can use one your journey.

Since this is a spiritual tool as well as a tool for healing, it is important that you respect the design. I always bring an offering to give to the Labyrinth after I exit. I also follow some simple etiquette.
1. Do not cross the lines, unless it is an emergency
2. If you are walking out and another person is walking in, step aside and allow them to pass you.
4. Leave your Cell Phone, and other electronic devises outside the Labyrinth. You will have no need for them here.
3. Be respectful to the design and others walking the Labyrinth

There are many methods to walking a Labyrinth. Some jog, skip, crawl, but most just walk at a slow at a steady pace. What ever you choose it is helpful to remember a few basics.

A Labyrinth has three basic stages, the beginning, center, and exit/end. I will go over each basic stage separately so you can identify them when you walk a labyrinth.

The important thing is to never walk a labyrinth expecting it to solve all of your problems immediately. The universe does not work this way. As always, you must put in effort if you expect any result.

The Beginning
As the name suggests this is where you begin. It is the opening of the labyrinth and the journey toward the center. You should have a focus as you walk if you have something to resolve or improve. This is where you identify your needs and desires. Some choose a mantra or chant to say as they walk. I find that this adds to the experience and encourages one to focus more deeply. Another simple and effective focus is your feet. Your gaze will naturally gravitate to your feet, as it does feel each step as you touch the ground.

If you have no specific subject, then simply walk.

The Center
I encourage all who walk a Labyrinth to spend a few moments in the center. I like to spend some time in prayer so I may speak directly with the God and Goddess about my focus. I take this time to ask for guidance. I may also ask for wisdom, prosperity, energy, etc… anything I need to further my progress.

While you are here stop a while and reflect on your purpose for being here. Take your meditation further by allowing yourself to sink deeper and allowing yourself to let go. If you must leave something behind, leave it. If you need to take something with you as you leave, ask for it. Pray… Meditate... Chant… Do what feels right.

The Exit/End
When you are ready to turn and exit the Labyrinth’s path, allow yourself to feel the sensations in your mind and body as you move. Don’t analyze them, discount them, or question them..

Some feel compelled to move quickly out of the labyrinth, encouraged by a sudden burst of energy. I have also seen people dance their way out as though they were overflowing with joy! Exist in the moment and live each step as it touches the ground.

When you exit the Labyrinth, remember to give your offering, leaving it just out side near the opening.

Labyrinth walks are usually solitary journeys. These journeys can take as little or as much time as you need depending on the size of the labyrinth. The important thing is not to rush. Take in the journey and the lessons piece by piece so you can properly understand what it is you receive.

I hope your journey into the Labyrinth is fulfilling and beneficial. If you have any questions please feel free to post them!

It is solved by walking…

Rev. Brandy Boswell

Thursday, December 24, 2009


This part of the lesson from a class I taught for the FireFly Academy more than a year ago. I always enjoy reading about and listening to other interpretations of the various Sabbats and Seasonal celebrations. I find it inspiring when people get creative, expressive, and allow the inner muse to emerge. I think this is why I enjoy this holiday season even though I do struggle with the clash of similar idealisms.

Alternate names and celebrations 
Counties, cultures, etc.  
   Yule – Europe  
   Christmas – Global  
   The Winter Solstice – Global  
   Saturnalia – Roman

    Common themes and traditions of Yule

    Common themes: A day to recognize the return of the Sun's warmth and light. Also marks the passing of the longest night of the year which is the balance and counter part of Litha/The Summer Solstice. In many traditions the birth of the Sun king is a significant symbol. This Sun King will grow and as he grows he will warm the earth, bring forth Spring, fertility, and bounty.

    This is the time of the year when we are encouraged to focus on charity, hearth, home, family, and friends. The tradition of giving is traced back to when villages would combine recourses, stores, and supplies so everyone could make it through the rest of the winter. This led to fellowship and prosperity for all who participated.

    Spiritual Focuses/themes: Hopefully you have rested your physical self and your spiritual self during what is thought to be the dark time of the year, from Samhain to Yule. After this period of rest many feel compelled to push spiritual goals and aspirations forward. To do this one must remove any baggage clinging to the soul. Resolving conflicts, forgiveness, humility, and charity are common and effective ways to renew and lighten your spirit.

    Common traditions: Decorating the home in greenery, pine needles, branches, berries, Holly, Mistletoe. Placing a fresh cut tree in the home and decorating with bright lights that were thought to help encourage the sun to rise and grow stronger.

    Other ways to celebrate: 
       Decorating a pine/evergreen tree  
       Staying up all night to welcome the sun as it rises  
       Having a feast style breakfast at sunrise or just after  
       Burning the Yule Log  
       Weaving/Knitting/Sewing/Crocheting Warm blankets for the home  
       Wreath Making  
       Sleigh Rides  
       Moon lit walks in the woods  
       Reading stories about the Fea, Santa, etc.

      Sights, Smells, Sounds… Experiencing this Sabbat with all the senses

      Experiencing any ritual or special occasion is best when you involve all you senses. This is why we love decorations and holiday meals. Decorations help us create an atmosphere that is welcoming and bright. Candle create a dime and warm setting where we can relax and feel at peace. The scent of Cinnamon, Apple, Citrus, Clove, Pumpkin, and Anise are classic fragrances that begin forth a nostalgic sensation. Think about your favorite drink or food, one you closely relate to this holiday season. The nostalgia from the tastes, sight, and smells are all you need to change your mood and outlook.

      Directional Association:

      North/Earth: Home, stability, and prosperity

      At this time we are focused on family and friends and making them feel welcomed. We attend parties and sometime host parties all to celebrate the season and the relationships we cherish. We are busy wishing everyone prosperity and luck as we enter a new season and year.

      East/Air: Intellect, creativity, and new beginnings

      Since we have more time to spend indoors it is a great opportunity to catch up on our reading list or even take some classes and learn something new. Those who have hobbies in crafting might find it easier to create. Others may take this time to plan as the new year approaches.


        Red: Strength, Energy, Health, Ambition, and Vigor

        Green: Healing/Health, Loyalty, Fertility, Success, Luck, Growth, Charity, Patients, and     

        Blue: Peace/Tranquility, Understanding, Truth, Devotion, Sincerity, Honor, Wisdom, Inner
        Knowing, and Sleep/Rest

        White: Purity, a clean slate, the snow, Spirituality

        Gold: The God, The Sun, Prosperity, Strength, Wealth, and Male Energy

        Silver: The Goddess, The Moon, Love, Gentleness, and Female Energy



      Other Common Symbols:

      Antlers/Deer/The Stage, Holly and other evergreens, Snow Flakes, Candles, Lamps, Male Deities like Santa Clause, and a new born male God…


      Music ad Lyric:  
      When the right music is played we are usually flooded with emotion and sometimes nostalgia. During this time of year the focus is on being happy and joyful. Our ancestors tried to raise their spirits so they can remain positive through the remaining cold months and this is a great custom to carry on. Play music that is nostalgic and inspiring. If you have some dance music you like, play it. If you like "Christmas" carols play them too. Although it may be more appropriate for you to stick with the ones that speak to you and your path rather than songs that are Christianized. However, you may also begin to realize that there are many similarities in our beliefs and the Christian beliefs and then you will be able to see past the song's surface.

      Poetry and Story Telling are also great elements to incorporate into your celebration. Two stories I like to share with my daughter and friends are "The Good Wife and the Silver Pine Cones." and "The Yule Fairies"

      Food and Drink:

      In all cultures food and drink are very important people together in a specific atmosphere.

      Foods: Honey, Cheese, Apples, Squash, Nuts, Grapes, Cabbage, Meats, Beans/Legumes, Plums, Pears, Potatoes, Root Vegetables. Anything hearty and earthly. Baked goods are also very big, so try your hand at pies, cakes, breads, casseroles, etc.

                  Spices and Herbs: Cinnamon, Anise, Nutmeg, Ginger, etc.

                  Drinks: Apple Cider, Mulled Cider, Hard Cider, Ale, Mead, Beer, Milk, and Wine.

      All Sabbats have a deeper meaning beyond the initial traditions and surface messages.

      It is at this time of year when we should be making ourselves ready to emerge from the darkness. The strengthening of the sun's light is a message to us to also strengthen our own inner light. It is time to begin our own return to the light.

      By this time we have spent 6 weeks in darkness and in many areas the cold weather depression compounds and in some cases consumes... some times its called the winter blues.

      It is with the return of light and warmth we can realize that depression and darkness is only a cycle and will not last if we choose to let it go.

      The message is find joy, let your self release the sense of hopelessness you may carry with you from time to time. Like the sun you will shine again and you are able to brighten the world in your own unique way!





      Ishtar (Babylonian)


      Frau Holde (German)


      Dagda (Irish)

      Lono (Hawiian)

      Chandra (Hindu)


      Some info about Mithras:

      Pre-Dates Christ

      Mythology of his birthday was spread all over Persia, Egypt and Asia. He was born to a virgin mother in a barn/manger.

      His birthday is known as the "Birthday of the Invincible Sun"

      He is also known as the Child God of all Gods

      Followers would continually pray for his return each Yule

      A simple ceremony. A celebration for everyone.

      This is a simple way to enjoy the holiday as you bring joy into your heart and mind, share some quality time with family and/or friends while recognizing the coming bounty and fertility

      You will need:

      • Candles: Red, White, and Green
      • Upbeat, Happy Dance or Holiday Music
      • Family and/or Friends
      • Cookie Dough or Ginger Bread Dough (Homemade or Refrigerated)
      • Flour and a rolling pin
      • Other supplies for making cookies (Icing, candy decorations, Special cookie cutters in the shape of the sun, deer, evergreen trees, Santa, etc.)
      • Directional Candles
      Gather your family and/or friends and make an evening of making cookies while enjoying the company of those you love. Place the directional candles in the quarters of your kitchen and invite your loved ones in. Have one or two people mix the dough, others roll it out and cut the shapes out, and the rest can bake them. When the cookies are baked and cooled everyone can try their hand at decorating them. This is a great time to share with your friends and give them blessings for the season.

      For a more adult style cookie use ginger bread cutters and make Ginger bread person anatomically correct to symbolize the coming fertility and celebrate sexuality. 

      Enjoy the season and allow the feelings of warmth, prosperity, and  peace be yours all year!

      Wednesday, December 23, 2009

      Now is the time…

      Those who follow my blog may have notice a trend in the recent poems I posted. This time of year for me is extremely annoying. I truly hate shopping, buying meaningless gifts for people I hardly know, and battling other shoppers for a spot in the isle. This is one of the reasons why I make all my holiday gifts.

      Anyway, No matter what faith you follow, peace, love, joy, charity, and simple decency is something we all appreciate. This time of year serves as a reminder of these important things. I always find it funny how it is these very things that seem to get tossed out people's car windows as they shop, and interact with one another.

      This time of year is meant for peace and joy not chaos and hassle. As I shopped for my families groceries today I was very aware at how rude people acted and how inconsiderate people are to one another. So as I shopped, I made a choice. I chose embody the true meaning of this season. I chose to smile at people as the approached. I chose to be happy no matter the number of times I was treated unfairly. I chose to take control of my thoughts and actions.

      After a while the effect really began to take hold. I felt great, despite the physical pain I felt in my hip and back. When I realized what I was doing for myself I naturally took the process further. I began to forgive and feel love and compassion for those who have wronged me in the past. My heart was light and my creativity burst forth. Yes, this is the true meaning of this season. I thought, "How selfish of me to be happy and forgive. YES! This is the very gift I should give myself. Happiness, inner freedom, and peace. Very selfish of me indeed!"

      Now is the time when we should practice the message of joy, forgiveness, charity, and fellowship.

      Now is the time when we should extend our hand to those who we have cast aside.

      Now is the time to forgive, love, and find peace.

      Many Blessings to you and yours this season! My wish for you this season is that you own your happiness and joy!

      I Choose Happiness

      I am happiness because I know sorrow.

      I am joyful because I know pain.

      I am peace because I know chaos.

      I am happy because I choose to be happy.

      I am joyous because I fill my day with joyful things.

      I am content because I contentment with all I have.

      I know happiness because once sorrow tied my hands,

      I know peace because once pain bound my feet,

      I know joy because once darkness consumed my thoughts.

      I choose to free myself from a prison where no lock restricts me.

      I choose to lie in the field of soft green grass and take in the sweet fragrance of flowers.

      I chose to take responsibility for my own happiness.

      I chose to take responsibility for my own joy, for no one else deserves the privileged of this responsibility.

      No one else can better know what makes me happy.

      May those who wish ill upon me be cured of this awful illness.

      May the curse spat out by jealous lips, lash back to awaken their owner.

      I choose to forgive you all who have turned away from me.

      I choose to forgive you who snatched up your friendship with haste and vengeance

      I choose to forgive you with the quick tongue and deceitful heart.

      I choose to forgive myself for allowing pain to enter into my life. 

      May all who seek peace find it.

      May all who seek love feel it.

      May all who seek joy and happiness, be joyful and happy.

      Leandra Witchwood


      Tuesday, December 22, 2009

      I Light This Candle for You…

      Tonight I light this candle for you…

      You who are broken and worn,

      May the light reach you and brighten you soul.

      Tonight I light this candle for you…

      You who are at war,

      May this light lighten your spirit and bring you home

      Tonight I light this candle for you…

      You who are never at fault,

      May you realize those you have left behind in your desperation to be right 100% of the time

      Tonight I light this candle for you…

      You who have too much pride to admit,

      May you be peacefully humbled and learn to bend

      Tonight I light this candle for you…

      You who are broken and learning to mend,

      May this light speed your progress and free your spirit

      Tonight I light this candle for you…

      You who sacrifice willingly

      May your labor be rewarded and grace lighten your load

      Tonight I light this candle for you…

      You who have spoken ill against another,

      May you know your connection to the greater good and be reminded of what matters most.

      Tonight I light this candle for you…

      You who are seeking a new way to live

      You who seek peace

      You who search for resolve

      You who realize that you are your own reality

      You who realize there is more to this life than what we are handed

      Tonight I light this candle for you…

      I pray you feel the heat within.

      I pray you see a vision of truth, a moment for clarity that will push you forward

      I pray you have peace in your heart

      I pray you offer forgiveness freely

      I pray you seek out those relationship soured, that you might mend them on this great hour.

      I light this candle for me that I might find this path shared.

      You by my side, as we walk together with acceptance and trust, peace and forgiveness.

      May we find understanding and we walk long and true.

      Blessed Solstice from me to you!

      Leandra Witchwood

      December 22, 2009

      Tuesday, December 15, 2009

      The Mural

      Paint a mural high on the wall, watch as the lines bleed and fade.
      Storms bursting with lightening and rain upon a restless sea.

      Looking hard and deep within to find the truth I seek.
      Looking hard to understand the deceit, they choose to speak.

      Paint a mural high on the wall, watch as the colors bleed and into gray.
      A meadow green and fey unseen, upon a sun lit day.
      Cool and crisp the air surrounds, gentle water washes over me.

      The song you play in my heart is filled with lies and fear.
      I turn to the brighter side, where I feel hope will reside,
      beyond my pain and tears.

      Looking hard to understand.
      Looking long and deep within to find the truth.
      Looking to find the truth, you are willing to stand.

      Thursday, December 10, 2009

      What is a Labyrinth

      Classical 7-Circuit Labyrinth

      What is a Labyrinth?
      The embodiment of Wisdom, Prosperity, Hope, Peace, Personal Power, Strength, Protection, and Growth.
      Or simply… The archetype for life.

      A labyrinth is sacred symbol, an ancient pattern designed for a variety of reasons. It is a tool to be used toward self-healing. One may walk a labyrinth to quiet the chatter in your head enabling the walker to meditate effectively. One may walk a labyrinth to pray, deal with a difficult decision, or heal. Labyrinths have been used for centuries in rights of passage and to commune with the Gods. There are countless uses for a labyrinth.

      A labyrinth is a geometric design that is usually portrayed in it circular form. The size of a labyrinth can range from one small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, commonly known as a finger labyrinth, to over 80 feet in diameter.

      Labyrinths… Mazes… They are all the same right?
      There are several styles and types of labyrinths out there and it is easy to mistake them for mazes. To add to the confusion many people misuse the word Labyrinth when they mean to say Maze. A simple distinction between the two is this…
      Labyrinths are usually a single path structure that have no dead-ends or tricks to confuse the participant. The purpose of a labyrinth is to allow the user to meditate on a goal or issue without concern for what direction he/she should take next. The single path journey is a reflective inner walk with one's self.

      Where did Labyrinths come from?
      Labyrinths are found all over the world and are estimated to be over 5,000 years old. It is thought that labyrinths originated in Crete. However, evidence shows that they may have originated with the Amazons in the form of a dance. AS this dance evolved and moved from one country to another people began to place the dance in stone. What emerged was the classical Labyrinth.

      What are Labyrinths used for?
      Labyrinths are used in celebration, meditation, rights of passage, stress relief, fun, resolve inner and external conflicts, personal healing, personal and spiritual growth... The list is long and the possibilities seem endless, you are only limited by your imagination.

      Many hospitals are now building labyrinths for patients and doctors to use when they need a few moments of peace and inner contemplation. Family members of the terminally ill as well as the terminally ill are finding clarity and acceptance as they routinely walk a labyrinth.

      Professional office buildings are using labyrinths to resolve conflicts and lessen anxiety before entering into intense meetings and discussions.

      All over the world people are building labyrinths in their backyards, churches, parks, and community centers so they may walk them when ever necessary.

      Each person who walks the path of the labyrinth is touched in a special way. No one is completely sure why or how labyrinths work, but it does. Labyrinths are effective and their use is highly encouraged.

      Stress relief, meditation, problem solving, healing…. Where could you use a labyrinth in your life?

      Hand-Made Personal Canvas Labyrinth created by Rev. Brandy Boswell

      Finding Our Self Esteem and Getting Unstuck on This Path

      by Leandra Witchwood

      I grew up in a household where my extra efforts where sometimes scoffed at and ridiculed. Growing up this way I naturally believed that my extra efforts were silly and pointless. Even now after years of soul searching, meditation, and empowering myself; I still struggle with my less than healthy self-esteem. I now realize that it was my family’s insecurities mix with my own ability to hang on to the past that helped make me insecure.

      I did not appreciate how common this issue is until I took a good look at our American culture. It happened while I was taking my most recent class on progressing in meditation. The instructor commented on how our American mind-set differs from the Tibetan mind-set. She revealed to me how our culture is based on “Your best is not good enough”, instead of “You did your best and that is good. Try it again tomorrow and you will do better.”

      I immediately found this enlightening and empowering. It helped me remember that our mindset is not the only mindset available. It was freeing to know that I have the option to change. We don’t always contemplate the messages we receive from family, media, friends, and community. Unfortunately, these messages seep deeply into our psyche doing damage that is tough to mend. Over the past several weeks, I have been contemplating this reality and how one can conquer this subtle oppression.

      Someone once told me this, “We are who we think, others think, we think, we are.” Some wisdoms are not always easy to grasp or express and this one defiantly has a “Whoa!” factor. To put it most simply, if we believe in ourselves and express our own inner strengths, others will pick up on this and it will become who we are to them. In turn they will treat is as confident and capable people thus encouraging our own confidence.

      Read more at the Magickal Buffet