Hi friends! Welcome to another edition of Dear Ladybug. Please feel free to comment down below if you have anything to add to my answers – or if you have any better ideas. Thanks!
My Spiritual Practices
CAYA Coven 2014 Daily Practice
DEAR LADYBUG: What practices do you perform on a regular basis and why? –Anonymous in Alameda, CA
DEAR ANONYMOUS: There are several, most of which I do as part of my priestess work:
- Ring a bell over my head. All of the Wildflowers do this. It is meant to open up our crown chakras and thus help us to receive wisdom.
- Repeat this affirmation three times while looking in a mirror: “I am brilliant, beautiful and funny. I have lots and lots of money.” Again, this is something that all the Wildflowers do, although our words are our own. I picked these words to attract their reality.
- Sing the CAYA Coven 2014 daily practice song. This is something all the clergy, initiates and aspirants in CAYA do. It’s like taking one’s spiritual vitamin in that is blesses the singer with so much added life zest, and it also serves to connect us to each other. Here is a printable for you.
- Recite my Bloodroot Honey self-blessing. This is a way of ramping up my body’s vibration and expressing my gratitude to be alive and kicking. Here is a printable version in case you or anyone has use for it. All of the Bloodroot Honey priestesses have a self blessing that they recite daily or regularly.
- Sibling practice. I have the honor of having a little sister this year who is initiating in CAYA (hi, Lisa!). All the big/little sibs have a practice together during the initiatory year. Since we are both moms with a lot of demands on our time and attention, we both do an act of self care every day and while doing so, bless each other with R&R. This way, we remember to take care of ourselves and increase each other’s benefit.
- Tell my kids I love them and am grateful for them. I do this every day without fail. It’s not something I have to work to remember to do, unlike everything else I just listed – it just happens spontaneously and naturally. However, it’s so very important that I’m including it here in this list.
I used to have weekly practices for all of my deities, but, to be honest, since I moved, I don’t keep them up anymore. Therefore, I won’t describe them here, since that would be sort of dishonest at this point. If and when this changes, I’ll write about it down the road.
At every dark moon for a year, I’m committed to doing personal magical work as part of my Advanced Wildflowers initiation. You can read more about this here, here and here. I plan to post my next update for this past dark moon tomorrow, so stay tuned!
DEAR LADYBUG: I’m traveling for work in a foreign country and I have been very lonely in my fancy hotel. There are a lot of barriers – cultural, language, and economic – that come in the way of making close bonds with folks outside of work. And of course, it’s always tricky to be close friends with people who are either your superiors or whom work under you. I’ve made one new, platonic female friend who is in a similar situation. We’ve had a great time over dinner and breakfast together. She’s leaving tomorrow and I fear that I’m going to be filled with grief and loneliness. I think I should go see the new Godzilla movie with some buddies from work to get my mind off of it. What do you think I should do? — Alone Again in Maharashtra, India
DEAR ALONE AGAIN: Grief and loneliness are the sort of feelings that don’t easily go under the rug. Trying to push them aside often just prolongs the pain. So, go ahead and go watch Godzilla with your buddies, but do it because you’re working on your friendships and building a support network for yourself. Your situation, extended travelling without a close companion, can magnify feelings of loneliness, but you probably have options you aren’t considering. For instance, you could ask yourself if there’s anyone back home who would like to hear from you. Have you talked to your family lately? Are there any friends or relatives you could chat with on Skype? Look through your contact list and look for some people who would love a check in. Another tried and true method for coping with grief and loneliness is looking for people to help. Could you volunteer where you are? Watch for people who need assistance throughout your day and do what you can for them. Have you seen this video? It illustrates the point well. Being of service to others goes a long way towards coping with sadness. Finally, I urge you to do the work needed to feel whole and complete unto yourself. By that, I do not mean that you should become an island, but instead commit yourself to learning to love and accept yourself, to doing the work needed to address your shadows, and to growing your inner strength. Then you can develop relationships based on mutual affinity rather than trying to fill an empty spot inside. No one can fill that hole for you. You must feed it with your own awareness, growth and inner compassion.
Getting Happy in Her Skin
Disco Dancer by Merlin2525
DEAR LADYBUG: I’ve had a couple of high stress years trying to balance the demands of full time work, married life, and grad school. I’m finishing grad school and realizing I’ve kind of done a terrible job taking care of myself. There’s been a lot of junk/fast food and many many sedentary hours in front of the computer studying and writing. I feel really uncomfortable in my body, which doesn’t work as well as it did before grad school. I’m fine with how I look, but don’t like feeling sluggish, weak, and sore all the time. I can’t afford fancy diet programs or a gym membership right now and was wondering if you had any advice on how to get my body back into working shape again. – Unhappy In Her Skin in Crockett, CA
DEAR UNHAPPY IN HER SKIN: First off, congratulations on finishing grad school! Wow, that couldn’t have been easy what with working full time and being married, too. No wonder some things had to go on the back burner. My advice on getting back into a healthy groove is to start incorporating small, easy changes into your lifestyle, little bit by little bit, in achievable increments. Here are some ideas:
- Drink up! Water, that is. First and foremost, try to drink enough water every day.
- Get your zzz’s. Did you know that chronic lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and other bodily ailments? All that work you’ve been doing has cut into your sleep time, most likely. So, get some much needed time in bed. Speaking of which…
- Get on top! Ahem… You’ve probably been too tired for romance of the athletic variety. There’s no time like the present to re-ignite that flame. Hey, it burns all sorts of calories and gets you back into your body in a very real way. Go for it!
- Know your cook. Eating home-cooked food is a simple yet powerful way to return to a healthier balance. Whether you cook it yourself or someone else you know makes the magic happen, home cooking goes a long way towards avoiding all the crap that is out there that makes your body miserable. It’s pretty great for the ol’ pocketbook, too. Maybe just eat out once a week or so. You could visit friends for dinner or have friends over to recreate the restaurant fun sometimes, too.
- Party dance! While working out for 45 minutes would be nice, let’s be real and admit that fitting that into your schedule regularly at this point might be too much of a stretch or cause burnout. Instead, finding ways to get moving in short bursts throughout the day whenever an opportunity arises will keep you on your feet and reconnecting with your energy. One really fun way to do this is to stop what you’re doing and dance like it’s your birthday when a song you love comes on. Get your spouse or a buddy to join you if you can. Laugh! Shake that booty! Then go back to what you were doing. Feel the glow?
- Roll it. I’ve heard multiple physical therapists say that if there’s just one thing you do for exercise, let it be foam rolling. It apparently goes a long way toward keeping your muscles healthy and loose, like getting a stellar massage does. I personally swear by it. There are lots of tutorials on YouTube that you can watch for free.
I hope that’s some good information to get started! When you feel like you’ve got these action points down, you could move on to something more rigorous if you feel the desire. For now, though, keep your goals small and attainable to build back up your body’s natural energy.
What to do with old mojo bags?
Mojo bag. Image by Patti Wigington
DEAR LADYBUG: What should I do with aged mojo bags and ancient ritual take-a-ways? I hate to throw away magic, but I’ve got so many I can’t even remember what most of them were for. – Bag Lady in Oakland, CA
DEAR BAG LADY: You are all set for a dark moon adventure! All that magic must have done it’s work. When you get to the place where you no longer can remember what your old mojo bag or ritual takeaway was for (or it’s just old and no longer needed), you know the spell is complete and the ingredients are ready to move on to their next use. When the moon is waning, or better yet, dark, it’s the perfect time to tend to this sort of business. So, here’s what I suggest. Gather up everything you don’t want anymore. Take all of the organic, non-toxic matter and burn it in your cauldron or fire pit, or bury it in a place where it can safely decompose. When you do so, you can sing, chant or speak something appropriate to express your gratitude for the gifts and the work and return the magic to nature. If you have leftover ash, you can keep it if you like to save your ash for the year as some witches do, or you can bury it, toss it in flowing water, or just throw it away. If there is anything from the bags that you’d like to keep, like any little charms or fancy stones, you can put those in your raw materials storage to go into a future spell. If you’re worried about residual magic from the old spell, then store the items in salt for a moon. They’ll be squeaky clean after that! If you still have leftovers at this point, items that you can’t burn or bury and you don’t want to keep, take them to a crossroads and leave them there as an offering. When you return from the crossroads, take a different route back. This way, the magic can go wherever it needs to go. Think of it like dropping the stuff off at a spiritual Greyhound station. Most of all, have fun and be sure to keep a spirit of gratitude for so many blessings!
Do you have a question about your life or mine? Feel free to ask! Answers go live every Friday. Also, please comment down below if you want to add anything to the conversations above. Have a great weekend, everyone!
♥ Mama Ladybug