Of Wild Wanderings & Summer Heat

Where have the Wildlings wandered to?

When the Earth is heated and moist, and dew clings to fresh green leaves, the Wilds beckon us home,

To wander without being lost in the wild wood and thickets, near the river bank, under a full moon at Ocean’s tides, upon the windy cliffs and hills drawing ever nearer up the Mountain.

We are not at home; Summer is here, and the weather is warm and sultry, demanding dancing and crafting and riding.

Earthly scents mingle together, sweet hyacinth and water lilies, boggy cypress and wet soil, filling the hot and humid air with the promise of light and love and life.

Midsummer is near and the Wildlings are not at home…

They wander, these wild ones, seeking the Enlightenment, Transcendence, the Spirit of plant and animal, and Ancestors’ ancient wisdom.

Trees and herbs rejoice at their coming and the Sky parts in promise, giving life and lust back to us mortals, and demanding the cycle be born anew.

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Endangered: a Sunday Short

I was inspired some time ago by all the recently published YA novels in the fantasy fiction genre. My last student that I worked with got me into the teen fantasy-romance, particularly following sagas of adapted folklore surrounding shifters, werewolves, and other lycanthropes. I normally wouldn’t have chosen to explore this genre at all, except I’ve been noticing the rise in its popularity among tweens, teens, and young adults. There’s not much in this world that could please me more than watching teen students willingly pick out fiction literature and actually enjoy it.

So with my newfound inspiration, I decided to explore the shifter/werewolf fantasy element, albeit with a twist. So without further adieu, here’s a recent flash piece I’ve been playing with, taking place in my beautiful Florida. This short definitely feels like the beginning of something bigger, so I’ll be brainstorming where to go with Mia’s story in the future.

In the meantime, enjoy, and be sure to click the links at the bottom of this post to explore the ever mystifying Florida panther, as well as the rich culture and history of the Seminole tribes of Florida.

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This was her favorite part. If there was something in the world Mia Thompson could love more than David Bowie’s music, she had yet to find it. Cranking up the volume on Moonage Daydream Mia sped her Jeep onto SR 29 North, toward home. She had just finished a particularly straining shift at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge where she’d managed to land her part-time dream job, and she was anxious to get home. Mia had been floored when she was told she’d been granted her employment shortly after summer vacation had started. But today was a daunting day, and the thought of a warm shower and pajamas had its appeal.

Belting out the last of the lyrics, Mia began her routine of formulating her thesis of what would eventually become her entrance essay into the Biology department at the University of Miami. She hoped to present the research she’d been participating in at the Refuge: the growing pockets of small populations of endangered species native and unique to Florida. Using her data, she hoped to persuade a halt on agricultural and commercial development throughout the unprotected northern reaches of the Everglades she knew and loved so much. The land of her family. Her people, her mother would correct her.

Smiling to herself at the thought of her mother and what she’d surely be cooking up for dinner, Mia let herself relax and enjoy her familiar surroundings. State Road 29 was a country road and mostly straight traveling, leading south toward Ave Maria, Alligator Alley, and her lovely Refuge and the Fakahatchee Strand, with occasional bends along the way. Travel about an hour southwest, and she’d hit Naples and Marco Island. North brought her to LaBelle, and Miami was only a two hour drive southeast.

Soon the wetlands started giving way to drier land, offering up sand pines, saw palmettos, sawgrass, scrub oak and the occasional live oak draped in Spanish moss. The road started the last of its bends here, where the air was growing still and humid. Mia breathed it in; she loved this place. And she was going to save it.

Halfway through Changes, Mia turned her headlights on, cursing the longer than usual shift. Should’ve called in, she thought. She hated driving this last stretch of road into Immokalee in the dark. She sped up, shifting to fifth, hoping a little more speed would get her home sooner.

As she rounded another curve, she spotted a creamy blur dart across the road and into the brush, heading east. Into the gathering shadows. Slowing down enough to see the spot where the thing ran, Mia looked for a place to turn around. Using an old gravel trail as a drive, she reversed and headed back to where she remembered seeing what she could have sworn was a panther. She’d been waiting and watching these areas her whole life practically, and she wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip by. Especially since the elusive cats tended to stay within the bounds of the refuge. She had never heard of panther sightings this far north, but this area was virtually uninhabited by humans, so the possibility that it truly was a panther was quite high.

Pulling off to the shoulder, Mia parked the Jeep and cranked up the emergency brake. Flashlight and cell phone in hand, she headed toward the edge of the pine and oak and alligator grass. The flashlight’s beam only illuminated a small portion of what looked like a deer trail, though Mia wasn’t sure. She’d be late for dinner, but she very much wanted to see if she could spot the big cat. So she took a steadying breath and stepped onto the scrubby trail.

[Featured image, Florida panther, courtesy of FloridaPanther.comRead about this endangered species here.]

[Read about the Seminole Reservation in Immokalee,the history, and culture.]

Lyreleafs & Cloud Readings

Spring has sprung here in Florida, and with temperatures ranging from the 70’s to the 80’s, it’s been perfect weather for cloud watching and wildcrafting with some of the beauties right here in my yard and garden.

With spring fever behind us and hot days ahead, I’ve grown more and more interested in weather lore and other folk lore isolated to Florida and the Southeast. I have checked out some books on Florida’s climate and general weather patterns, but I want the old folk’s lore of weather and cloud divination.

 

 

I want to learn about the clouds moving overhead, about what those movements mean for my home and garden, my place in the local Land, and about how to perceive outcomes of various garden-related happenings when divined.

I want the magical and mystical workings of rain and clouds and fog. I want to gain and use my knowledge and experience of the weather patterns and learn how to read them with the purpose of divining future energies of all things home and garden.

So what does one do when one is looking for some divine guidance in seeking out the appropriate information about a spiritual topic of interest?

Invite the Ancestors to tea, of course. And a little bit of Lyreleaf Sage goes a long way.

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This sage (Salvia lyrata; other common names include wild sage and cancerweed/cancer root) grows wild in yards, meadows, roadsides ditches, culverts…you pick a spot, and these babies will root there. They’re hardy little herbaceous perennials and readily self-seed and spread like crazy in ideal conditions.

Which is good for me, because hey, if I can use it as an edible and a healer, I sure as hell will! And this little plant is wonderful as a calming tea at 10 o’clock at night, curled up with a good book. The fresh young leaves and blossoms can be used in salads, and have a very light and pleasant minty flavor.

While the Lyreleaf’s medicinal properties don’t pack as much of a punch as other species of salvias, Lyreleaf can be used as a carminative/laxative (a mild tea made for kiddo’s gassy tummy or constipation…hey, it happens), and for relief during cold and flu season. Lyreleaf sage also makes a relieving salve for cuts, sores (warts and zits and boils, oh my!) and minor wounds.

On the spiritual and magical side, sage is also a plant linked with divination, purification, protection, and psychic learning. I’ve come to connect sage’s otherworldly attributes to, well, the other-world. Ancestors can be invited when sage is burned.

Now, traditionally White sage, or Sacred sage (Salvia apiana), is the sage of choice for burning and smudging, but I’ve found that the edible sages work well for these purposes, too. So I decided to harvest and dry my Florida Lyreleaf for tea, as well as a bundle for smudging/incense.

Then we’ll see what we see.

I haven’t used this particular sage in an infusion or for spiritual purposes yet, but am anxious to have it dry so I can get down to business.

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Until then, I’ll keep reading my library books on weather and atmospheric phenomenon, and offer these lovely tidbits on my new friend, Lyreleaf sage:

 

 

 

 

 

[Close-up of Lyreleaf blossom photo: ©Mark Hutchinson for http://www.fnps.org]

Clearing a Path

Clearing a path through the brambles (truth)

A midst all the chaos and catharsis is an ultimate truth. A dissolution of an inferior way, a past recollection in which dreams will die. I had reached this place of perplexed peace, a new beginning of sorts, just as the moon came full. Lunar and water elements gliding around me. The death and rebirth of another astrological year.

It’s led me to where my path must cross a threshold of tiring and disjointed debris cluttered in piles along my desired way.

Truth must serve, now. Truth even in its ugliest moments. I must cut through the thicket. This beast within whose ferocity no longer serves me must die and rise from the ashes of an inferno not yet ready and frightened to be quenched. But the truth calls for a reckoning, a wandering eye to still and open, and a move into action all of the choices that have already been made.

I have to make a new path.

The Law & right action (justice)

The Law governs me, keeps me in check. Not modern society’s laws, though there is that–which honestly, I break those too– the law by which my very own nature cannot turn against. I make judgments and decisions based on as much knowledge as I have about myself and the world around me.

I must live by right action: if it does not serve me, I must cut it out. If it harms me or those I hold dear, I must cut it out. The truth in all things must never be broken. At least from me. I am a loyal person, a steadfast soul, sometimes to a fault. I cannot waver from the truth. It drives my actions. It is my Law.

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“According to the legend of the Salmon of Knowledge, the Salmon ate hazelnuts, which were full of concentrated knowledge. Hazel is the tree of hidden knowledge and learning, of authority and justice. It brings the ability to discover truth.” -Taken from The Celtic Oracle

Learning & challenging (Understanding & Wisdom)

It’s painful and it’s raw, the surrender to unseen forces. It’s consuming and comforting and terrible inside a stormy mind and heart. A fiery being who hides in Earth. But I’m learning. I draw inward to reflect on past and present and future.

Multiple strands intersect and part and cross throughout the Web, and I can feel it growing within my hair. The challenges these Sights bring are their interpretive messes that bind themselves as riddles to my heart.

But the general nature of navigating this Life is something of a comfort, a pleasurable experience, if indeed dappled with pain. We have so much at our fingertips, and I’m learning how to cope with that. I’m learning how to pause and understand before judgment. To understand there is no judgment.

We must return to the highest Source, for our Divinity is in the Stars, in the Sea, in the Soil. We must learn to govern our inner selves, to work outward with what we learn from doing so and use it to approach all things with love and understanding in our hearts.

But we must hurt in this learning. Transformation is nothing short of painful.

Though in this, as in all new cycles, is a cleansing burn that will open the way and make clear a path that, before, was hidden from view.

So we must learn to be as the Salmon and delve deeper into divine knowledge. We must travel the currents of life’s River, always seeking Truth through higher knowledge and learning. We must eat the proverbial hazelnut as often as it presents itself, and like the Salmon, be reborn through truth and justice.

So I will find that path. And I will clear it.

Saturday reading

The rain and chilly weather have made their way to my spot in FL, and along with a steaming cup of black coffee, I opened one of my beloved books.

Celtic Oracle by Gerry Maguire Thompson is a fun and easy oracle deck to work with. The cards feature beautiful illustrations capturing the mystical characteristics of each animal and plant they represent, and I can’t quite resist the simple power and meaning they impart.

I drew 2 cards this morning, one plant totem and one animal totem. Both seemed to coincide with the current New Moon energies and symbolism, as well as the energies that rebirth with the passing of the Wheel from Imbolg toward Spring Equinox/Easter.

I hope these energies resonate within your Heart, and that the season has you productive, healthy, happy, and harmonious 🙂

Blackbird {Druid Dhubh}

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The blackbird is the bird of enchantment. In Celtic legend, its song can send the hearer into a magical trance that enables entry into the Otherworld. The blackbird signifies self- awareness, self -discovery, and exploration of the inner world of the individual psyche.” ~Celtic Oracle.

The New Moon during the turning of the Lunar year has been calling forth that energy required to look inward, to listen to your intuition (‘self- awareness’). This in turn can then be manifested to explore and discover that which moves and motivates you to expression (‘self- discovery’).

This energy is much like the Blackbird represented in this card. Use this energy and look to your own inner self. The answers to your questions are within you; all of them.

Oak {Duir}

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The Oak is the most revered of all Celtic trees, bestowing great power and breadth of vision. The Oak engenders self confidence and optimism, the ability to cope with danger and difficulty, and high standards of morality, and the determination to tell the truth. Uncontrolled, the Oak’s powerful energy can lead to being overly demanding or interested in the pursuit of glory.” ~Celtic Oracle

The Oak by far was the King of the trees to the Druids. The word druid roughly translates to oak men, and the tendency for some species in the Oak’s family to grow large and live long have made the Oak a meaningful totem for strength and outward movement.

Which is probably why the Druids sought to model their great teachers/leaders after the Oak’s characteristics.

Harness the power of this kingly tree only after having taken the time to self-reflect and become aware of your inner voice. Once you’ve spent some time intimating with your Self, you can use the inner strength and power you’ve nurtured to cultivate your self-confidence to go after your dreams and reach your goals.

I hope these cards bring meaning & joy on your Saturday, and if anything, meditate on the symbolism of these totems to help you along your journey.

Blessings, Love & Light Xo