POSTPONED! Nine Fold Path Class 7: HoC Principles & Practices
Due to expected weather conditions, we are postponing this class one week to Tues. March 10 and moving the location to Old Bridge instead of the Unitarian Society in East Brunswick. Webweaving at 6:30; class at 7 p.m. sharp. This class will enumerate HOC Principles, Practices, and Tradition. It includes a discussion on magical ethics and the origin of HOC’s charter in The Book of the Law. A brief historical perspective on Wicca will also be included. RSVP to Chiron
One of our members threw a beautiful hand-made Kali mask in the bonfire at Imbolg. Several people around the fire gasped as the mask twisted and melted into the flames.
The truth that wasn’t revealed by the flickering light and the darkness was that the mask had seen better days. It was starting to tear; it was dirty and careworn. It’s time had come and gone.
We often hold onto our things and sometimes our ideas when they no longer serve us. We collect things, people, stuff that isn’t needed or helping us anymore. It’s tough to let go of things, even to find time to go through our stuff and decide that it’s time to let go.
Our stuff takes on a life of its own. We use our stuff to remember our past. It becomes alive with thoughts and memories. But it really is just stuff.
Literally or figuratively we can hold our stuff (physical or emotional) in our hands. If it gives us joy, then we should keep it. If it doesn’t, it’s time to let that go. The same idea can be applied to old sweaters, to relationships with people that weigh us down, to commitments that hold us back from our spiritual and personal growth.
Often it’s tough to say “no.” When presented with an opportunity, we want to say “yes.” But if we hold that opportunity in our hand, so to speak, and we feel guilt, obligation, dread or any other negative emotion, “yes” isn’t the right answer. It’s more than okay to say “no” if something doesn’t bring you joy and doesn’t make the world a better place.
Start to let go, little by little, of things, ideas and people that aren’t contributing to your joyful experience of this world. Do so with kindness, both to them and to yourself. Find a new home for them, but allow them to live somewhere else.
One of my favorite quotes, attributed to Martin Luther, is “I have so much to do that if I didn’t spend at least three hours a day in prayer I would never get it all done.” Martin Luther King Jr. echoed his sentiment:“I have so much to do today that I had better spend another hour on my knees,”
What I think this embodies is the idea that we are all so busy rushing around trying to check things off our to do lists or just keep our heads above water, that we forget to spend time on the care of our souls. I once heard prayer explained as talking to the gods, and meditation as listening to them. It’s easy to rationalize that we don’t have enough time to meditate or that we “aren’t able to,” that quieting our minds is too difficult.
I have a tiny statue of Ganesha in my shower sitting on top of my pumice stone (and one might consider how the pumice stone is metaphorically related to all this). This morning I found myself chanting while I showered “Ganesha Sharanam Sharanam Ganesha.” This got me thinking about hto insert small moments of sacredness in our day.
Chewing can be a great way to meditate. Really paying attention to what we’re eating, tasting it, savoring it, masticating it until it’s really pulverized. They say, “You are what you eat.” Take that seriously – pay attention to the nutrition that is entering your body, that is creating your YOU today.
At night when I’m waiting for my child to fall asleep, I sit on a prayer bench in my room and silently chant “Nam myoho renge kyo” for ten to fifteen minutes before I go back to check on him. The way I think of this chant is the lotus grows in the mud; the deeper the mud, the more beautiful the flower.
A lot of people shy away from meditation because they think they “can’t do it.” The only can’t in meditation is not showing up. You aren’t doing meditation wrong if you can’t clear your mind. You need only sit to meditate and notice that you are thinking and then try to let the thoughts float away like incense smoke. Sometimes it helps to light incense to remind you that thoughts are like smoke.
If you find yourself waiting in line or at a doctor’s office, close your eyes (or keep them open if it’s not too distracting) and listen to your breath. Follow your breath until it’s your turn.
Watch less television. It sucks up an amazing amount of time. It’s a way of checking out. I’m inviting you to check in.
See if you can find even five minutes a day to add a little meditation into your life. Your soul will thank you.
What! Thanksgiving in February? That’s right. One of the best ways we can communicate with the gods is to express our gratitude for their many blessings.
Sometimes when we are in a bad emotional place, it’s difficult to think of anything that we are grateful for. It’s hard to imagine that we’ll be happy again or feel grateful even for the difficult time, but we learn lessons from exactly those hardships. And later on we remember those harder times and are grateful we’ve come through them.
When we wake up in the morning, if we can think of three things that we feel grateful for, it helps to bring more happiness into our world. Like attracts like, as we know, so the more we choose to focus on what is good in our lives, the more light will enter and the happier we will feel.
Start small, if it’s hard to think of something to be grateful for. Be grateful for a hot shower, or something good to eat. Be grateful that you have arms and legs (some people don’t).
Every day try to think of three new things to be grateful for. Gradually, you will get into the habit of noticing what blessings are in your lives and more blessings will come.
Express gratitude to those people you love — tell them you love them, tell them how much you appreciate them. Name the specific things that they do that you appreciate.
Express gratitude to the people who annoy you — it will be easier to have compassion for them.
Thank yourself every day for all the good choices you continue to make. Appreciate how hard you try.
Open yourself a little more each day to the light that surrounds us and that emanates from the Divine Realm. It is our birthright to be happy. Notice your own happiness and let it grow.
In an effort to increase the light in our lives, I’m sharing the following excerpt from online talk show host Heather Vale:
“Pick something that always makes you smile, and choose to think about that when you want to be happy. Short on money to pay the bills? Hold on…think about that beautiful, perfect orchid. Savor the thought. Doesn’t it make you happy? Feel the happiness surging through your body.
Take it a step further and carry a picture of it with you, or something that reminds you of the thing that makes you happy. And every time you think about this thing, focus on the feeling. Allow the happiness to spread through your body and grow.
This is known as “raising your vibration,” or “putting out a good vibe.” On a molecular level, everything is made up of particles, and these particles vibrate and attract other things that are vibrating on the same frequency. That’s what the experts mean when they say “like attracts like.” And emotions are what really dictate what frequency you’re vibrating on. So misery attracts misery, anger attracts anger, and happiness attracts happiness.
Focus on raising your vibration for a full 16 seconds. Studies say this is what is required to manifest what you want.
So breathe in for a slow count of eight while holding that happy image in your mind…hold your breath…then breathe out for a slow count of eight. Smile and continue to think about that happy image before allowing the thoughts of your current reality to creep back in.
Now let’s take this even further. How can you experience these little breaks of happiness that propel you forward toward success, all day, every day…even without focusing on that key thing that makes you happy?
Treat every action throughout the day as something joyous and miraculous. Are you drinking a cup of tea? Here’s how to get the most from the simple pleasure.
Feel grateful that you have access to this wonderful beverage that uplifts you, and that a seemingly simple bag of leaves in a cup of hot water could produce such a fabulous result.
Sip your tea. Enjoy the taste. Savor it. Breathe deeply and feel the happiness rushing through your veins.
Focus on the moment and the emotion of happiness. Don’t let the day’s hustle and bustle distract you from this oasis of joy…just for a few minutes while you consume its pleasure.
Feel the sense of accomplishment and success you get from actually completing something that brings you joy, and allowing it to do so.
All done? Breathe deeply, smile and look forward to the next pleasure that life will bring you in just a couple of minutes.”
(From Success and Happiness, Leading experts reveal their secrets)
Hands of Change are a group of spiritual people on a path that embraces the natural cycles of the earth and of the universe. With a belief that Spirit can be found everywhere, even within each one of us, we are committed to inclusion, gender neutrality, healing, community building, and empowerment. It is through our dedication to this path, and to working with the forces of nature, that we believe healing and magick happens every day.
We offer open Full Moon Circles and workshops/classes to all respectful seekers, as well as Sabbats (some public and some invitation only) and coven membership for the committed.
For more information, please send an email to Kokopelli.