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Archive for August, 2015

sheila2

It’s been hot here lately at the Magickal Cottage! The summer sun has been absolutely oppressive. Fortunately, tomorrow it’s supposed to start cooling off a bit. It’s the Dog Days of summer! According to Factmonster: Dog Days is the name for the most sultry period of summer, from about July 3 to Aug. 11. Named in early times by observers in countries bordering the Mediterranean, the period was reckoned as extending from 20days before to 20 days after the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) and the sun.

All a body feels like doing on days like these is to kick back and move as little as possible, sort of like the way my dog chooses to spend most of her time year round. Our dog, Sheila (she’s Australian), has a couple of “beds” around the house and usually chooses to lie down on the one that is closest to her human. Except for when the mail carrier or delivery truck threatens her home, she is fairly laid back  and sleeps a lot.

Three cats make their homes here as well. However,  the big difference between the cats and the dog seems to be in the way that cats will sometimes “honor” you with their presence and dogs “cherish” your presence. I am a crazy cat lady, sure, but can just as easily become a crazy dog lady as well. I was the dog mom of three dogs at one time, so there you go! I’m a sort of a switch hitter when it comes to animal parenting.

The thing about dogs is that they just love to hang out. There is something very comforting about a dog who likes to curl up next to you when you are taking a nap or feeling under the weather. There is speculation that humans first domesticated dogs because they were helpful in alerting them of danger and proved useful in hunting prey with their sharper senses. But over time it seems that the bond became much closer between dogs and humans. The goddess, Hecate, is fond of dogs, especially black dogs. And dogs are said to guard the gates of the Underworld which is proof of their reliability as a watchman. I can’t picture a cat agreeing to sit and guard anything that they were told to guard by human or deity!  

As an animal totem or guardian, this is what we are told about dog:

The Dog is a symbol of the small becoming the great.
People with this totem have great spirit
and a great ability to love.
It takes a lot to break a dog spirit.

People with a Dog totem are usually helping others or serving humanity in some way.  
Dog medicine embodies the loving gentleness of best friend and the fierce energy of protector.  
You will have a deep understanding and compassion of human shortcomings. 

As an animal totem I think dog is one of the great ones. And people with this totem are true humanitarians. Sure, they aren’t as exotic as a dragon or a phoenix (I love dragons and phoenixes, btw), but wouldn’t you love to have a dog person as a best friend or partner? I would!

So kick back with your canine companion and enjoy these final days of summer. What? You don’t have a dog? Well, there are plenty of them just yearning to hang out with you! Go and get you one! And remember: Adopt, don’t shop.

Bright Blessings,

Sarina

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996221_DThe_Coven

 

This Lughnassad was a memorable one for me. This Sabbat coincided with my somewhat sudden decision to join a coven. In my double fire sign fashion one day a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly got this strong message that I should join a coven. It was one of those out-of-the-blue messages that told me to do this, and when I get that kind of message I take it more seriously because I know it’s probably from Spirit.

“Really?”, I asked. I had been fairly content to quietly practice as a solitary crone for the past several years, and I hadn’t been actively searching for a group to join. Sure, I missed my other solitary friends back in Texas. And texting back and forth wasn’t quite the same as getting together and sharing in person. But I still hadn’t been looking for a coven.

Just to satisfy my curiosity (and Spirit’s prompting) I decided to look on the Witchvox website. Now, Witchvox states clearly that they don’t have the time to check out all the postings on their site,  and I understand that would be impossible to do. I was a little bit leery of contacting a complete stranger about joining their group without ever having met them or the other members. I did find a coven in my area, however, and it sounded right up my spiritual alley. The coven placed an emphasis on the natural world and even had what they called “weed walks” to explore the local native plants. Now, that intrigued me! So I sent them an email.

To make a long story short, the high priestess and I clicked and I am now a member of a coven. I also joined a local MeetUp group that she recommended and attended two Luhnassad celebrations: one with the coven and one with the MeetUp group. Life is full of surprises! I am happy with my decision to join a coven and look forward to learning a lot and spending some rewarding time with my new friends.

You may be asking yourself if you should look into joining a coven. I would start out by telling you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a solitary witch. If you are happier living that way then, solitary or coven, one way is not better than another. As long as you are constantly studying, practicing and learning, then being solitary is fine. If you do decide you would be happier as part of a group, then I would recommend being cautious in your search for the right one. If you find a group online I would check to see if they are part of a larger spiritual community or tradition so you can read about what they emphasize in their beliefs and practices. My coven was a part of a larger traditonal group and I was able to go to the main website and do a little more research.

After our initial phone conversation I was able to meet the coven leader at one of the MeetUp group get-togethers and we were able to chat face to face. With each contact I think we both felt more comfortable. Believe it or not, often the coven members are just as nervous about having someone new join the group as the newcomer might be feeling. There are some hateful people around who might crash a coven meeting to do harm to the members. Or the newcomer might just be, well, kind of ……odd? Arranging to meet with coven leaders in a public place might be a good idea, and even then make sure you have told someone close to you where you will be going.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions of the leaders and be honest about your past experience or apprehensions. There may be levels of study that are required of you as a member and some sort of initiation. However, never go along with something you are uncomfortable with, and you should not have to pay hundreds of dollars to be a coven member. If you have a question, I say go ahead and ask. Also, there are plenty of resources available to read that tell about common coven practices. I have a friend who had a very unhappy experience joining a coven of two other women who proceeded to take advantage of her and robbed her of hundreds of dollars. I’m sure there are more wonderful covens out there than there are unscrupulous ones, but just take care, OK?

One last caution I would have for you if you decide to go in search of a coven to join; and that is: LISTEN TO YOUR GUT FEELINGS. If something doesn’t seem quite right or the synergy feels “off” somehow, then there is a reason, no doubt. A coven should be a very close-knit group, and if you feel that the members and you are not a good fit, then keep searching for the right group. Never feel there is a rush to join or that other opportunities won’t come along. What is that saying? When the student is ready the teacher will appear. That sort of applies to this situation. So we could say: If the witch has a need, the coven will appear!

Whether solitary or in a coven, I wish you many bright blessings and happy experiences along your spiritual path!

Magickal Hugs,

Lady Sarina

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