As within

So without

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Pray? Me? Pass.

 

I never got in a regular habit of praying as a believer and here’s why.

I’m an introvert. We hate small-talk…with anyone…including ‘God,’ whomever that is. I don’t like talking when I really have nothing to say and unlike many people I crave silence when there’s not an active conversation going on with another person. I have only heard of one person who said they heard the ‘audible voice of God,’ and I wasn’t told that by the person. That was in my Foursquare days when there were demons under every placemat. When I was there I was encouraged to not meditate as I had practiced it in my ‘former’ life as that was leaving doors open to ‘demons.’

I talked to ‘God’ because I was told by some that I needed to. I was told by others that I had to. In fact one pastor said I’d lose my ‘salvation’ if I didn’t pray. I guess we’ll overlook Romans 11:29 while we’re trying to scare a group of newbies into conforming and so they’ll keep coming back.

Talking gets to be exhausting. I just never liked being the only thing speaking in an empty room and that was what praying to ‘God’ felt like EVERY TIME. I did some of it but ‘I never prayed without ceasing.’ I suspect it was part of what led to my eventual exit from the faith. Today when I meditate I may state an intention or chant a bit but it’s very limited and not consistent. I ‘pray’ a little but I am no longer sure who I’m praying to anymore or if there is anyone to pray to. I may return to it as part of my spiritual practice, but I doubt it’ll be at the core. It will be my decision and not at anyone’s behest.

That pesky Mercury 



From Michael Butler Smith

We interrupt our regular #TarotTuesday feature with important Celestial News!
# Mercury goes #Retrograde today August 30th 2016 at 9:04 AM EDT – through September 22, 2016 – in the sign of Virgo. The post-retro shadow period will last through October 6th.
Now before we proceed, I’ve decided to institute a new policy concerning retrogrades. I want to be very clear as a responsible spiritual teacher that Retrogrades are *not* here to harm us, or mess up our lives or make things difficult for us. On the contrary – we live in a friendly, conscious, intelligent Universe – nothing happens that is not designed to help us in some way. Yet in our typically alarmist, fearful 21st Century Western culture, we’ve made a boogey-man out of Retrogrades – another thing to be afraid of, blame, and complain about. This needs to stop. I know not all of you reading this are Witches – but many of us are. And as empowered beings, we need to knock off the victim mentality of blaming anyone or anything – including retrogrades. Blaming gives our power away. It’s that simple. OK – end of speech!
So – let’s discuss the particulars of the current Mercury Retro and how to work with it and within it. For starters Mercury now joins those already-in-retrograde planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) we’ve been dealing with for a number of months. Yet Mercury Retrograde only lasts weeks compared to the months it takes for outer planets. This specific Mercury Retro in Virgo is being heralded by some astrologers as the “best” and “lightest” they’ve seen in a long time – and things are promising to be less problematic when it comes to traveling or starting a romance.

This Retrograde in Virgo is set to help us give structure and detail to our personal visions of how we wish our lives to be and to proceed. But it will also be cautioning us – at least at first – to go slow, be deliberate, and look before we leap.
As I remind you with all Mercury Retrogrades, the usual cautions apply: Go over all details carefully. Check and double check your figures. With this particular Mercury Retro in Virgo, we need to speak carefully and succinctly – be precise in communications with others. Don’t leave out any details – but keep it short and sweet. Remain calm, cool and collected whenever possible. With Mercury retrograde in Virgo, it may make you more aware of “messes” (hot or not!) – literal and metaphorical, and you’ll have the urge to clean them up. Just go forward deliberately, consciously and concisely and things should tidy up nicely.
Also, as often happens during Mercury Retro, people, places, and events of the past may make a surprising come-back. This may include some *unwelcome* visitors and situations from your past. These reruns from the past have come up to be dealt with once and for all – bringing healing and resolution in their wake. Let’s not forget that 2016 still remains a year of closure, resolution and the ending of cycles. Allow Mercury Retro to bring it up or back that it may be consciously released and bring you freedom. However, this time around, we may also see a return of some friends we used to walk the spiritual path with and haven’t seen or communicated with in a long time. This may be a happy reunion, or this may be coming about because they can assist you now in a very specific way. Just be open to it.
We’re always cautioned during Mercury Retro not to sign contracts or other important documents if at all possible, do not re-negotiate terms as they are unlikely to stick, be careful with any investments or changes thereof; and to be advised that travel of all kinds may pose some challenges, outright difficulties and even cancellations – though again, this Retro is being billed as less problematic in these areas. Electronic and computer-related glitches are bound to crop up here and there as well. This includes your cell phone, land-line, WiFi and cable TV – since Mercury rules communication in all forms. Just business as usual during any Mercury Retrograde. As a result (and eerily similar to our last Mercury Retro), I’ve been having sporadic WiFi connection problems and my laptop has been periodically shackled to my modem with a lovely blue Ethernet cable! While not always convenient, it’s a speedier connection – part of the balancing act that Mercury Retro can challenge us with. Always try and see the positives in this. Sometimes these things arise so we can explore other means of communication or think on our feet and come up with a workable alternative or solution. Mercury does after all rule the mind and intelligence.
In addition (as I’ve shared here *so* many times over our years together) Retrogrades always invite us to explore the “RE” prefix – we can re-evaluate, re-assess, re-visit, re-form, re-group, repair, all ultimately leading to realization. It’s all here *for* us. But we have to be willing to see it, meditate on it and contemplate its significance in our lives. In our culture, Mercury Retro has become a pop phenomenon and an eye-rolling punchline on TV sitcoms, so when you mention that Mercury is about to go into retrograde motion, I find that people right away do this heavy sigh of despair or get freaked out. But we can *always* harness the power present and use it for our benefit and spiritual and personal evolution. Retrogrades (like everything else in Life) are here to help us grow, not make life difficult as so many mistakenly believe. That’s why I have added my new pro-retro opening statement at the start of this post.
We need to be aware as well, that this time around, Mercury will be working with both Solar and Lunar Eclipses. I mentioned during the recent almost-eclipse of the Moon, that it’d be giving us a preview of what Mercury Retro had in store. Well this sense of revelation will continue and many things will be brought to light and out of the shadows over the next 3 weeks. This is for our growth and greater spiritual awakening. The more light we bring to the shadowy corners of our lives and psyches, the more enlightened we become.
And as I always advise, if things get overwhelming, work with orange and/or gray candles to moderate the Mercury Retrograde energies. Lavender oil (which carries a Mercurial vibe) can help calm and soothe you. You can also work with and carry stones known to calm, protect, stabilize and assist during this transit, such as: citrine, hematite, blue lace agate, chrysocolla, amethyst, obsidian (great for electronics), selenite and rose quartz. Also any of the agates – which are ruled by Mercury – can be helpful allies, moderating Mercury’s energies in our immediate personal sphere and aura.
Remember, we work *with* the stars, we are not ruled by them. There is nothing to fear and everything to grow from and gain. Let that be your mantra throughout this transit!
Goddess Bless and Blessed be!
© Michael Butler Smith 2016
Image: Planet Mercury – uncredited photo found on a number of internet sites including Pinterest and Youtube.

Angelic playtime

cessna-182When I was 3 or 4 I had this toy airplane. It was a Fisher Price type model of one of the small 2 person aircraft like those made by Piper and Cessna. It rolled around and the propeller would turn. So one day I had left it on the coffee table and I came out of my grandparents bedroom and the propeller started turning and it rolled forward off the table and dropped to the floor.

I never forgot that moment. Those few seconds are part of what has shaped my sense of wonder. It might have been a visit from a departed relative, or an angel playing with me.

Today’s card: King of Cups 

Calm, not order, out of chaos.

The king sits on his stone high-back throne atop a stone mount. He’s wearing a blue tunic and a red and yellow cape. He holds a cup in his right hand and a scepter in his left. He sits calmly amid turbulent seas, under a Grey sky. To his left there’s a ship moving away in the distance. To his right there’s a fish that has come up out of the water. (This is probably the same fish that’s in the cup held by the Page of Cups.

The left hand refers to sending out power, energy, and to banishing. The right refers to attraction, taking in energy, abundance.

Unmoved by the chaos around him, he sits calmly.

This is a time of patience, and endurance. Keep your cool. The seas and whatever storms come will right themselves.