Thursday, June 28, 2012

Topics: Merlin.... and Moon Phases~

I'd like to chat about "Merlin"    (whom I am named after)....
and (bonus!)
I will teach you a goodly way to remember Moon Phases!


Ever since I first learned to read, I was interested in magic stories and those of legend and myth.
Arthurian legend, and those tales about Merlin,  in particular, had me spellbound.
I always had my nose in a book and would love to wander around thinking (and truly believing) that I was a Magickal person and could make my own magick.

I am a Magickal person.
You are too.
We all are.

While my thoughts were indeed influenced by Mary Stewart (I think I have read the "Crystal Cave" and "The Hollow Hills" at least 5 times each....among many other books about him).
"The Book of Merlyn" is probably my all time favorite and evidently, Disney was also inspired to tell his tales based upon T.H. White's stories!

I even did my HS senior research paper on Merlin, citing references from "Morte de Arthur".  It wasn't hard for my friends and classmates to transform my given name (Marilyn) into my current moniker of Merlyn.
"Merlyn" is even in my HS yearbook under my picture way back in 1978!

Personally, I find a lot of hope in the figure of Merlin.
His legend says that he came from royal lineage, a bastard child of King Merlinus Ambrosius, to be precise, yet he preferred to live among the lower classes and even by himself and nature more.
He studied much.
Loved books.
Traveled extensively throughout Britain (but could not traverse water well).
He could play the lyre.
Knew the Pagan ways and the ways of the Church.
Passed on his knowledge to those interested enough to learn and study and grow.
Always hoped in the future, even though by knowing the past could've been dismal.
There is always hope in his way of thinking, because of the fact that man has free will.

Merlin influenced politics, and help to guide the monarch of Arthur as his adviser.
He also did dabble occasionally in manipulation of people and events for the greater good.
Or at least...what he believed to be the greater good.

Merlyn also fell prey to the one vulnerable chink in his armor.


He knew that he was being beguiled by Morgause (or Morgana/Morgan depending on which version you read....). Merlin took the ultimate risk. He showed her the spells he knew, even the one that would entrap him forever.

I've done that too.

I guess we offer ourselves so willingly to the one we love, and we open our hearts up so fully for them to learn of our inner workings, that we give them the key to our door. It is in their power now to imprison us or to set us free. Merlin did that too. He was trapped in the forest sealed magickally in a tree by his own strong binding spell that he freely gave her...knowing she had the power...He was waiting to see how she behaved with it. (obviously, not well...)
He is there, locked within the spell, still waiting for the right time to be set loose to come forward again, when we need him the most.

So it is with ourselves as well.
We trap our ownselves by our own doing or by love... and with nature and magick we can hide or heal and be reborn.

Merlin was wisdom that risks itself emotion.
He is head ruling the heart....but sometimes....

The Heart WINS.

Now....onto  MOON PHASES 

The moon goes through it's monthly cycle, forcing us to follow along by watching it's ever changing faces.

New Moon 
(sometimes known as the Dark Moon) is actually a time of darkness. 
If you can't see the moon....then it's the New Moon.
It is beginning to be reborn. A goodly time for new beginnings, starting projects, cutting your hair to make it grow faster, and it's the best time to plant your garden.

Yes, but HEY! 

Sliver moon....are you Waxing or Waning???

Know how to tell the difference?

Here are two easy ways to remember by looking at the moon sliver to tell if the moon is:
Waxing (growing) or Waning (shrinking):

If you imagine the moon is a sliver like a backwards "c" (don't have one on the keyboard...)
then imagine adding the stick of an 'l' to its open side
you would make the lower case "b" for "baby moon" or "beginning" or WAXING MOON.

If you imagine the moon is a sliver like a letter "c",
then imagine adding a stick of an "l"to it's open side...
you would make the lower case "d" -for "dying moon" or "decreasing" or WANING Moon.
You can also recant this poem I made up (being a Bard like Merlin) to remember which is which:

"LIGHT on the RIGHT is MIGHT" (growing/waxing)
"LIGHT on the LEFT is LEAVING" (shrinking/waning)

Then there is the Gibbous Moon. (a fun word to say too :)
This moon wins the "Oh So Close Award" and is the "almost full moon" on either side of the Full Moon.

Waxing Moons-
good for constructive magic. Growing things.

Waxing Gibbous Moon

Waning Gibbous Moon

Full Moon is Just that.

The 2nd full moon in a month is a "Blue Moon".
Full moons are good times to grow your hair fuller, cut it now by trimming/or layering.
Time for prophesy, divination, extra power. Culmination.

There are some fun names of the full moons to go by too:

January                  Wolf Moon or Cold Moon

February                Snow Moon

March                     Windy Moon or Worm Moon

April                       Flower Moon or Pink Moon

May                        Milk Moon or Flower Moon

June                       Rose Moon or Strawberry Moon

July                        Mead Moon or Corn Moon

August                   Lightning Moon or Harvest Moon

September             Harvest Moon or Singing Moon

October                 Hunters Moon

November             Dark Moon or Beaver Moon

December              Long Night Moon or Full Cold Moon

Waning Moon- for banishing magic...ridding yourself of habits, addictions, negativity. Releasing.

Merlin helps remind me of the Old Ways....

and the Moon tells of both the Old Ways ...and where we are today.

Merlyn thinks you ought to know this important natural information :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

M is for Medusa....


The word sends a thrill through your body a bit doesn't it? So much for "Silly Mythology", eh?

Medusa's story is an interesting one. I actually feel kind of sorry for her.

Some tales say that Medusa was a monster from the beginning. A Gorgon with her other two Gorgon sisters.

Other tales say that Medusa was actually a beautiful woman, was SO beautiful that anyone who looked on her was "Paralyzed by her beauty", even Posiedon HAD to HAVE her. So he bedded her in Athena's temple. (Poseidon, Poseidon! Naughty Naughty! It's not nice to fuck in other God's temples!!! (and of course, this made Athena VERY jealous and ANGRY....who then turned Medusa's hair into snakes)

Another tale tells that a wee bit that Medusa wasn't consenting, but was raped by the God Poseidon by Athena's temple and Athena was so pissed that she turned Medusa's hair into a nest of vipers.(same ending)

Man, that just adds insult to injury, don't you think??
I mean, Athena!
WTF didn't you go mess with Poseidon instead?
I mean, REALLY, honey.....HE was the troublemaker there.
It's like blaming the victim for the crime!

And then, being CURSED by a Goddess....
Medusa has to wear this monstrous curse the rest of her days. Anyone who looked at her, would be turned into stone. Her eyes would glow and as soon as your eyes made contact with her, you were toast.

Perseus, was sent to kill Medusa, and received a mirrored shield from Athena (still holding that grudge Athena?) and winged sandals from Hermes, a sword from Hephaestus, and a helmet of invisibility from Hades.

Kewl Super Power Assortment there, Perseus!

She was even potent AFTER death....Perseus would show her severed head to anyone he wanted to slay and even then they would continue to be turned into stone. He turned ATLAS into stone.
It is said Perseus killed a Kraken in this way. Think of THAT! A glimpse of Medusa's eyes could KILL A KRAKEN.
Her blood was poisonous if it dripped on anyone or anything.


In some theories of Psychoanalysis, Medusa represents FEMALE RAGE.

If you asked a woman what a raging woman would look like, mayhaps a picture of someone like Medusa would come to mind. Wild thoughts like snakes, uncontrollable wave around in our heads. If you were to really look into the gaze of a raging woman, you too, would see the dagger eyes and be turned to stone.
Her blood, like bile, is poisionous to the bitter end.

Hell hath no fury of a woman scorned.
And scorned by the Gods she was. Used, abused and then punished for it.
Let's face it, SHE IS POWERFUL.
It's a terrible power, but you can't deny, there IS POWER there.

Fess up. When you have been SO ANGRY....SO MAD....
Didn't you feel like Medusa??

Interesting that the only way Perseus could kill Medusa was sneak up on her is to look at his reflection in a mirror and then she was slain by avoiding her hatred and looking at a reflection of himself in his magickal shield... then looking past himself to see her.

This shows us that it is the TRUTH about ourselves that slays us.
Even if we have to see it reflected in others as we are too chicken shit to confront it head on by looking at our own rage and despair.

It is said that 2 drops of Medusa's blood were given to Ascleplius from Athena.
You know Asclepius. He's the Healer w/ the rod. The medical symbol.

One drop from the right side of her head....has the power to cure and heal...even to RESURRECT!

The drop from the left side has the power to kill.

So that snake there on the MEDICAL MEDUSA'S SNAKE!
(And if you remember from my earlier writings and research here...that the Rod with 2 snakes- the Cadducues is HERMES...and NOT the medical symbol as some people think....)

And so it is with medicine and power. It to, has the power to heal or kill.

But wait, before all this, Medusa was made pregnant by Poseidon. (still at her, even so, eh Poseidon? Oh what a Peyton Place was Mount Olympus!)

So when all was said and done, people slain, Kraken killed, Perseus threw Medusa's head into the ocean and from it was born?


So it is, we can also transform ourselves, by overcoming the anger and rage, we can be set free with our passions and our sexuality and FLY

Beautiful Woman.
ANGRY Woman.
Birth mother to Pegasus.

So, next time you think of Medusa.....
Have a little sympathy.

But for your own safety....wear some mirrored glasses when you say Hello.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Labyrinth and the Minotaur Within

L is for "Labyrinth"....
A labyrinth is a place of mystery.
A puzzle place.
I imagine that you have heard of labyrinths in Harry Potter,

 or in Jim Henson's movie of the same name,

 or the scary "Pan's Labyrinth"

Or even (Merlyn asks hopefully) in the Mythology stories of legend and maybe even at your local Zen place for meditation.

They are all, in essence, a MAZE.

These mazes are multicursal patterns or unicursal. The unicursal pattern is the oldest being even featured on minted coins as early as 430 B.C.

As far as Mythology goes (oooh, I love Mythology!) the first story I ever heard or read with a labyrinth in it was that of Theseus and the Minotaur in the Labyrinth. Theseus went into the labyrinth to slay the beast, the man eating Minotaur (1/2 man, 1/2 bull).

There had been a decree that every 7th year, 7 beautiful maidens and 7 handsome young men would be put into the labyrinth to sacrifice to the Minotaur. Theseus does end up using a ball of string to unravel from the entrance and to find his way out again after killing the beast monster.

In Harry Potter and in the movie "Labyrinth" (with David Bowie), and "Pan's Labyrinth, the labyrinth was also featured as a "deadly game" to the players. If they were to actually triumph in traversing the labyrinth and coming out alive in the end, they would succeed.

So it is with the Zen maze as well, although not deadly, but definately a soul searching journey.

Years ago, I participated in several labyrinths, the best one being a HUGE labyrinth that had been painted on duck cloth and traveled with monks around the states. It was visiting the United Methodist Church's vast Community Room.

There was quiet and meditative music played by two musicians who sat by a gong, they played sitar and dumbek. At the start of the journey we were to dedicate ourselves to following the path.

We were to enter the labyrinth with a personal quest.

At certain points we were to stop, remember our question/quest and by the time we had traversed the maze to the center, we had come to some point of thought. Whereupon, we were to pick up a piece of paper from the dish directly in the center of the labyrinth. There was a basket there with about 100 slips of paper in it, with a secret word written on each one. We were to close our eyes, bend down, pick up our choice of slip of paper, read it and keep it and travel back out of the maze meditating upon that word.

I thought I'd try it. My personal quest at that time (and most of the time for me the ever Mercurial Gemini, is "Show me the next direction to go in").
I started on my journey, thinking of my past as I wound my way into the center. I paused at the core and stooped and picked up one of the secret slips of paper. It only had one word on it.
The word was "MUSIC".
My heart leapt for joy! Of all the many pieces of paper there, this was MY WORD.
I wound my way out of the labyrinth walking on air!

The labyrinth is in essence our way to conquer our own "beast" within. In this context, we are each our own "Minotaur". There is a part of us, deep within, that is animal, uncontrollable, unreasonable, one that follows instinct and cannot be tamed. We strive to follow the complicated path of our life. When we come to the core of our own essence, we must face our beast, our failings, our strengths.
We must focus on what we need to celebrate, follow and focus on the path that is OUR OWN SELF.

The Minotaur is US. We are 1/2 man and 1/2 beast.
We must allow for both in our makeup.
We must decide which one to feed.

The beast?

The human?

The labyrinth helps us dig down to find it.
Once found, we must deal with it. Kill the beast or be killed by the beast.

Once conquered we can wind our way back out of the labyrinth, following the trail that we've left for ourself, to sure freedom out of the complicated maze of our hearts, spirits and past.

The Labyrinth makes us asks the hard questions...much like Jareth the Goblin King asks in his song:

"I only ask things I'd ask any superstar,
What is it that you have got that got you where you are?"

 Once we find out the answer to that....then we know our own power and what we should do with it.

Sometimes, in order to be "Role Models" (like in the fun movie of the same name :)

We just have to experience what we are.....

To know ourselves truly.

Here is a list of some on my area....(Google them in your own to come up with a list of labyrinths in your area)

Labyrinths in the Finger Lakes area

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Life's Leavings~

For my first magickal "L" word for the weekly Pagan Blog Project, I would like to chat about:

 "Life's Leavings".

I've been toying with this phrase for awhile, and have even considered it as a book title. But now I see that it's already been a book title...(and not by me :)

Of this phrase I am harkened back to many moments of my life from early to just recently past.....and I've mulled it all over.
Maybe you have too....

It brings us to this question: 

Where has life left you?

Of all the things you've gone through, learned, amassed the information of, gathered, were inspired by, were bequeathed, pieced together, and sung...what is it that you are left with?

It's YOU.

You NOW. 

You can go anywhere from here and look at all the places you've been! 
You couldn't be at this place any other time except by going through all that former stuff. 

Life's leavings are the day to day experiences that get quilted in to your day. Some embroidered, some tatty, some of plain old muslim and some of brocade.

Some of us have a lot of shite in our pasts. 

 We need to analyze it...and let it go. 
We need to calm down, breathe, move forward with what we've learned,
and make up the next story for ourselves. 

I am not here for you to approve of. That's not my job. Oh, I have no doubt that I'm not everyone's cup of tea. I'm sure that I shock some of you, anger some, are tasteless for some, draw pity from some and admiration from some.

And that's ok. 
What I know is that I'm here from those that I can touch by being me. The me that gives advice, is sometimes politically incorrect, out there trying new things, loving, being both wise & equally fool-hearty, brave and chicken-shit.  When we show our vulnerablity, there are those who would stab it or scoff it.  But it is for those who are also going through something similiar, that find truth in the meaning of what we do, and hang onto the beacon of who we are, or represent, liken unto twine for a drowning man.

We deal the deck we are given.

We all have our own tales to tell.
I, for one, have narrowly escaped the gaping jaw of destruction as a child from the hands of a serial killer, kept my faith in the heavens despite Parochial school and the nuns,  I courted-yet avoided- the trap of several addictions without succumbing,  I have adored a narcissist, I put myself in places where angels have feared to tread. 

And yet, I am still here. 
No, I am not invincible. 

Say what you need to say.
Do what you need to do.
You are the only one with the life banks, memory, aptitude and ability to do what you can do with all that information. 

So chill out, be yourself, and bask in the glow of what you've accomplished, who you are, who you know, what you've gone through, and you are the only one who can do what you can do, with all of that accumulated stuff and information!

I thought of it this way: 

I was musing to myself and thought of a love. Albeit a disfunctional past love... and I thought about him and said to myself: "I survived you. But then again... I'm not allergic to poison ivy either." 

Hello. Here am I.
And there you are.
We are Resilient.
And that's really what life's leavings teaches us, isn't it?


Thursday, June 7, 2012

StoryBook Club conjures Cinderella

 "His Royal Highness-
Christopher Rupert 
Vwindemier Vladamier
 Carl Alexander 
Francois Reginald 
Lancelot Herman 
(Herman? Herman!)
Gregory James....

is giving a ball!!"

And so a decree went out into the land that "The Prince is giving a Ball!"

There were those of us who met at Squirrel Haven for our monthly StoryBook Club, who had been eagerly anticipating this particular story.... for all of our lives.... and some of us have even lived the part.

What little girl among us hasn't wished to be a Princess while playing with our Barbies?

Here is our lovely Cinderella table!

A pumpkin with ratty steeds in ribbon reins! Wands! Flowers! Garlands! Delicious food consisted of a feast fit for a Prince! Roast Chicken and Vegetables, Princess Cake, Princess Parfaits and Danish for a Duchess. Also some decadent Cream Puffs to delight our taste buds. Washed down with a good red wine and some strong tea for afters while watching Rogers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella" with Lesley Ann Warren.
It is our collective conscious "PRINCESS DREAM MOVIE."

Cinderella is a story that has been told, in variations and over thousands of years, with the first type story from the Egyptians! Really really. Wands, shoes, twigs, dresses, walnut shells, animal friends, they are all elements in there in some way in all those stories.

It's a tale of humanity, kindness, cruelty, hard work, co-dependency & most of all:

A girl loved and doted on by her parents, over time and loss of them, finds herself in a harsh environment, critical of her and burdensome to her energy. The girl "Cinderella" (or "Cinderash" or by many other names) endeavors to please the higher ups (her evil Stepmother and Stepsisters- also the flip side of her mother) on the pecking order to prove her worth and sacrifices her dignity to do so. Yet, her kindness, (when she had ample opportunity to lash out back at the sources of her pain and discomfort) prevails and because of this stalwart constitution, she triumphs and is rewarded wish fulfillment. Her magic Fairy Godmother (most likely her very own dear angel mother) appears out of nowhere, at the precise saving moment to transform her and her world forever by giving her the man to save her.
The End.

Ok, so I left a lot out....but you get the drift.

But there is SO much more to this story!! Aside from the blatant fact that we, as humans, (women AND men alike) do have a part of us within us that wishes to be saved. It is our CHILD HEART. The one that has been abused, neglected, trampled or ignored in life. We sometimes buy into society's map laid out for us that if "only we work hard enough, and wish hard enough that we can be saved".

But, really, when all is said and done, its in the journey, and in the doing, and in the working that we learn and teach and know ourselves. And others. There is also a thread in this story about NATURE.
Cinderella's best personal times were with her animal friends, and being outside in nature and her imagination was huge and came from her alone time. The magic also came from a part of her "inner mother" and she "mothered" her own self and gave herself her own wish.

The Prince did save a way....but only by giving her an outlet for LOVE returned, which she was lacking in. It is good to receive and not just GIVE, Cinderella.

How'ere, Cinderella was already a winner in grace.

It was her kindness that saved her. Fragile in reputation, yet stronger than iron. Her glass slippers did not break upon dancing! Or running, or even dropping at the ball. One only was smashed by deceit. But the other remained showing us that we always have kindness in reserve to share.

I also read "The Cinderella Complex" and this book is the opposite side of the coin. This book is about the fact that when we, as women and nurturers, so easily put aside our cares and dreams in order to help others, we get caught in a martyr syndrome of over doing. It's the guilty Jewish mother thing.
"Oh no...YOU go on, and have FUN with the others. I'll just stay here my myself, ALONE, and WORK cleaning up YOUR mess"....kind of thing.

Shit happens.

This complex highlights the fact that we may feel compelled to clean it up, regardless if it's our mess or not. 

Yes, it's their shite.
Yes, they have to deal with it.
Sometimes you even have to deal with their shite, even so.

It really bothers us, in our psyche, to see Cinderella abused and used as much as she is in the story.
We don't like the mean Step Mother or Stepsisters for the very reason that they inflict on our heroine. Cinderella teaches us that while a giving heart is a wondrous thing....
you don't have to be a doormat.
The key here is to work together and play together.
Cinderella can be firm and say "deal with your own self....but I'll help you if I can."

We can't save anyone, really.
Neither can anyone really save us.
We each have that responsibility for our selves in the end.

"To everything there is a season". And that means that there ARE times we need to pick up the dust cloth and vacuum.
But, honey, don't over do it, get obsessed and start straightening the rug fringe (sorry Mimi, I had too :) or like, say,  vacuuming the grass....cuz that's just overkill.

Save some time and energy for yourself, put on a pretty dress and go DANCE at a party and kick up your glass slippers too, fer feck's sake.

And the Prince and Cinderella probably DID live happily ever after, but if you really think about it, she probably picked up after him and doted on him a bit. ...cause that's the way she cares.
A bit.
And I think she'd be WAY kinder to her own servants in the palace, don't you?
Absolutely. Cinderella would be a kind ruler/employer. When I think Cinderella, I think of Princess Diana. She was kind and yet, she'd evolved to saying what she did and did not like. She was an awesome Princess.

Like Cinderella, from more humble beginnings with a fairytale wedding. And she was a true role model being socially just and still vulnerable and independent.

We should all strive for this kind of fortitude.

Next Month's Theme.....just in time for the Ren Faire Season:

Everyone's HERO!!