Archive for August, 2013

Daily Om…

I receive a daily communication of beautiful thoughts that often touch me called the Daily Om.  If you aren’t familiar and haven’t signed up you are missing a wonderful chance to stop for a moment in your busy day and reflect.  You can sign up here: http://www.dailyom.com/cgi-bin/userinfo/settings.cgi?subscribe=1

Often, these missives validate my thoughts and feelings or resonate with what is going on in my life.

In late July and early August, I received these two that were like a breath of fresh air.  They reminded me that I should act upon my desire to write and perhaps I should start with my own story…

 July 29, 2013
Personal Tales
Writing Your Story

by Madisyn Taylor

We all have a story to tell whether we publish it or keep it for just ourselves or family; allow yourself to be heard.

August 13, 2013
Letting Your Voice Be Heard
Writing Your Story

by Madisyn Taylor

Writing your own story can provide an outlet which can help purge any frustration, anxiety, or long-dormant feelings.

Then, just days before I am to leave on a 15 day trip with my sister to Great Britain to see Scotland again, I receive this one.  I need the new perspective.  Work has been difficult; stressful with very long days and my health has minor issues that demand my attention, but come at an inopportune time.

August 23, 2013
Going Away to Go Within

by Madisyn Taylor

Going on retreat is a time to cocoon so that we may emerge ready to return to our lives with a new perspective.

Today, I received this one.  As High Priestess of The Tree of Knowledge Coven, I often think of life and how I move through life in Tree terms; “swaying with the breeze”, “withstanding the storm by being flexible”, “deep roots for a firm foundation”, “changing with the seasons”, and “releasing what is necessary in its time” to name just a few.

August 26, 2013
Peeling Away the Layers
Trees Shedding Their Bark

by Madisyn Taylor

Like a tree our growth depends upon our ability to soften, loosen, and shed boundaries and defenses we no longer need.

So I think I have a mission.  I must open myself up during this upcoming vacation so that I might tell my story and fully integrate my experiences to heal.  No small feat.  Wish me luck…


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My coven, Tree of Knowledge, hived from the Circle of the Wild Wood.  Circle of the Wild Wood hived from Coven Aspen Leaf.  So my coven is a Tree who came from a Wood who came from a Leaf.  I thought this very synchronous, though it was not at all planned that way.  We are all trees…

Then July 29, I get this horoscope.  (Yes, just posting it late!)

I just laughed…

Keep the entire forest within your vision now, even if you’re overly attached to one particular tree. Try not to make a fuss over the circumstances that are attracting you to the most special thing in your world. The woods are full of all kinds, shapes and sizes of trees, shrubs and grasses. Naturally, you can’t touch every one of them, but you can employ your imagination to explore the incredible variety. Your life is a spectrum of possibilities waiting to be discovered.

My life IS a spectrum of possibilities just waiting to be discovered.  Just like the myriad leaves on a magnificent Tree.  All perfect.  Appearing the same, yet all different and fluttering to different winds.

What in your life is just waiting to be discovered?

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waxing new moon

Photo found here:


Back in February, I posted about my serendipitous sighting of the beautiful hanging crescent moon in the evening sky for two months in a row.  I was surprised and grateful and blogged in, “Horns of Isis New Moon” that, “It made me smile with happiness to be gifted with such a beautiful sight for the second month in a row.”  Well, imagine my surprise when I spied her AGAIN in March!  I noted in my journal:

For three months in a row, inexplicably, my eyes have chanced upon the sight of the beautiful ‘Horns of Isis’ new crescent moon in the evening night sky.  I thought it wonderful that I saw her two months in a row, but after 3 months, I have to think she has a message for me.

I looked up other meanings of crescent moons, and especially, this shape of crescent moon.

Crescent is one of the oldest symbols known to humanity. It appeared on Akkadian seals as early as 2300 BCE and from at least the second millennium BCE it was the symbol of the Mesopotamian Moon gods Nanna in Sumer and Sin in Babylonia, Sin being the “Lamp of Heaven and Earth“. The crescent was well known in the Middle East and was transplanted by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BCE as far as Carthage.

This is the sign of being a magical warrior or a special person and is also a symbol for transformation and change as in changing from one phase to another.  In ancient Japan, the crescent moon was a symbol of wisdom.

Is her message that I need to bring more balance into my life between work and pleasure, doing and being, magic and mundane?  Or is her message that there is great transformation ahead?  I feel as if each could be true.


Photo found here:  http://phatory.net/2013/02/25/crescent-moon-wallpaper/

Fast-forward to April and May.  As had happened since the beginning of the year, I was in the right place at the right time to see the waxing, new crescent moon each month.  In both months, it rained on the Dark Moon and I worried whether it would be cloudy and I wouldn’t be able to see her.  I needn’t have.

It was a clear when I spotted her waxing crescent beauty in twilight in April.  In May, it was a beautiful stormy-looking twilight with rain clouds moving in when I spotted her in the now-familiar Western sky between the moving clouds. Though I hadn’t started ‘looking’ for the waxing crescent moon, I was becoming aware of ‘wanting’ to.  I also started wondering what it could mean that I had now gazed upon her burgeoning loveliness five months in a row.  I noted in my journal:

In the new months of each year when the crescent hangs on the bottom of the moon, the waxing crescent moon is called the “Horns of Isis” so I kept thinking it must be Isis reaching out to me.  Now I believe it actually has something to do with new beginnings.  The thin, waxing crescent moon is exactly the same moon that was in the sky at my birth.  I think that means something.  Each month, the moon is reminding me of birthing.  Birthing my ideas, my creations, my life, my self.

waxing crescent sunset sky

Photo found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crowleymr/3929145749/

During June, my Coveners and I kept a Moon-Journal to note how our days and emotions might be influenced by the moon.  By then, I was apprehensive about not seeing the New Moon because I didn’t want my love affair to end.  I noticed how the sky was lighter in the evenings and worried that it would be too light for me to see her before she set.  I needn’t have.  I noted in my Moon-Journal:

I couldn’t wait for tonight to try and spot the moon.  It was a beautiful ‘pink clouds and baby blue evening sky’ at dusk and I spotted Her!  I was so excited!  A brand new, skinny, tiny, sliver, baby moon in a perfect sunset sky!!!  6 months in a row I have happened upon her new moon glorious-ness, and this was the only time I ‘tried’…

It is the moon of my birth and the Horns of Isis and the moon of Inanna along with Hathor who wears the crescent on her head.  The Greek Goddess Selene, most often associated with the full moon was said to be driving a chariot across the night sky pulled by a bull, hence the crescent moon horns seen with waxing and waning moons.  Artemis too, Greek Goddess of youthfulness and vigor wears the crescent moon on her brow, perhaps to represent her bow (as in bow and arrows.)  Mother Mary is depicted standing on the crescent moon in artwork and statuary.  Even beloved Hecate is associated to the crescent moon (as she is associated to all moon phases) and her twin torches are in a thin crescent shape on the ancient vase artwork depicting her.

Hekate with torches

Photo found here:  http://www.theoi.com/Gallery/T16.4.html

By July and August, I excitedly begin waiting to spot her after the Dark Moon.  It becomes a noted and wonderful anticipation after celebrating the Dark Moon with my Coven Initiate where we often do introspective and self-transforming magic.  Each month, I still feel the effects of our Dark Moon/New Moon working when I begin to intuitively look for her.  In July, I spot her in the low Western sky after a glorious sunset from a high deck at a girlfriend’s “Girls Night Out” Swim Party.  She has built a high platform to view the beautiful vista of country in her far north McKinney home and it is the perfect place to lovingly and longingly watch and be watched by the setting waxing crescent birth moon.

cescent moon in trees

Photo found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/reitstoen/4585883/

Now it is August.  Yesterday, I unexpectedly spot her between the trees when arriving home from dinner out.  My SO and I find a spot on my back deck where she peeks between the swaying branches of the big Pecan trees that surround my property and we talk while I gaze at the birth of another beautiful Mother Moon.  She is nearly lost in the tree-line around my house.  Once the moon has set beneath the thickest trees that surround my house, I would not be able to see her but here she is again.  As a Witch and follower of the Moon as Goddess (and the Earth as Goddess and myself as Goddess, but that is a whole other story), I find it very synchronous that I have ‘happened upon’ the waxing crescent moon each month for 8 months in a row.  I have not ‘happened upon’ any other moon-phase for 8 months in a row.

I am struck that even when I want to see her and I consciously look for the waxing crescent moon, she pops out unexpectedly each month.  Always it seems, at the perfect time.  She reminds me to stop, be still for a moment, and honor Her, and in honoring Her, I honor myself.  It is my birth I see in Her birth and in loving Her, I am learning to love myself.

In September, I will be looking for the Dark Moon and the waxing crescent birth in the Northern skies over Scotland.  I will learn where to look for her in those Northern skies and she will still sneak up on me and delightfully surprise me.

Wish me luck!

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During August in Dallas, TX, the last thing one would want to do is appreciate the Sun.  The temperatures are over 100 degrees day after day and everyone just wants to escape the sun and the heat, not appreciate it.

How could our lives be changed if we turned that around?  If we appreciated the miracle that is occurring?


“This is the miracle–
Every tree becomes beautiful
When touched by sunlight;
Every soul becomes God
When touched by the Sun of Tabriz” –  Rumi 1


This month’s New Moon took place in gold-hearted Leo. Astrologers typically describe Leo as extroverted, playful, and creative. Yet perhaps because Leo is placed in the 12th house of my own natal chart, I find meaning in its deeper side, experiencing it as a kind of inner “pilot light.“  In this sense Leo can manifest as the spiritual light-force that powers our faith for, as Rumi writes, “He is the Sun in whose track every heart must follow.” 1

Mystics across the centuries, for instance, have spoken of the Sun as a doorway to the realms of spirit.

How can we rekindle the light of our soul hidden within us? How can we experience the Divine Light that is our original nature? To begin with, it helps to concentrate on the light we see reflected in nature.  Find a place to meditate outside, or position yourself near a window.  Soak in the sunlight that shimmers through the air and lovingly caresses the trees and plants. Feel yourself warmed by the Sun’s rays; allow your body to be filled with its vital, life-giving magnetism.  Close your eyes and, as you inhale and exhale, breathe in sunlight until your whole body is vibrant with light. Feel your aura radiate. Let your consciousness expand into space; be awed by the fiery plumes of light exploding from the Sun’s corona.  Spin with the planets as they encircle it’s mother star.

Next, imagine that your whole psyche is being bathed in a shower of light.  Allow every dark corner of yourself to be lit up; experience the Sun’s kindness as it generously melts away your fear, shame and guilt. The Sun is the ultimate lover: all your hard, unforgiving edges melt away in its broad, beneficent, light-giving Being.  Slowly, as you feel more and more filled with light, you may feel as if you have returned to a place that feels familiar.  For as it is taught in many wisdom traditions, your true self is a ray of light descended from the Sun of Suns, the Divine source. During the course of your journey on earth, however, the core of light within you became veiled, eclipsed by the darkness of forgetfulness and ignorance. Now, experience the joy and love that comes from reconnecting with your genuine heritage as a being of light.

Finally, close your meditation by experiencing the light coalesce into a solar disc within the inner chamber of your heart.  Recall, for instance, images of saints and prophets whose hearts were aflame with love of God, light streaming from this divine center through their fingertips, illuminating their faces, shooting out the top of their head in aureoles of luminescence.  It is the power of their faith that burns so brightly; it is knowledge of their true origins that generates their soft glow.  So remember, when life is hard, and the embers of faith burn low, that your heart, too, is a Sun, a “light upon light”   whose home is in the stars.

Taken from:



Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved, by Jonathan Star

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I have the opportunity to be a leader in a lot of areas in my life; my work, sometimes with Covenant of the Goddess, with my coven, and even with my family (though my SO pushes back when I become overbearing, LOL.)

The following essential traits are very common-sense, yet I don’t think I employ all of them all of the time.  Practice, patience, persistence.

We all have the opportunity and sometimes the necessity to lead at some point in our lives.  It’s good to know how we can be better leaders.

Blessings to all,


Thanks to Valentine McKay-Riddell from Cherry Hill Seminary:

Five Essential Traits of Pagan Leaders
1. Pay attention to what’s going on around you; this is the first, and probably most important trait.  A leader needs to be aware, not just of what people are saying, but the atmosphere in the room, the messages between the lines, what needs to be said but isn’t being said until someone blows up and blurts it out.  If you are not paying attention you are not going to be able to respond to anything that happens.

2.  Be flexible.  Let yourself think on your feet and change direction on a moment’s notice.  Say you have a meeting all set up, the agenda planned, ten people get together, and before you can start someone says, “We have to talk about what happened last week.”  You can see that you can’t get past “go” until you respond to that person.  And perhaps you need to be able to weave that issue into your meeting.  This is why I most often do a check-in at the beginning of meetings or even classes, because sometimes the check-in becomes the topic.  Trust, going with the flow, is something I think is really important, but often people who are accustomed to leading find this hard to do. 

3.  Show appreciation  – this is huge.  Sometimes when someone butts in and tries to take over a group meeting, one way to regain control is to notice that person, notice that what is really being expressed is their frustrated leadership ability.  You can find ways to draw out their experience and abilities, to validate them, without losing control in a meeting.  For example, you might say, “Heather, I can see that you have experience with doing this in the past; would you research how we can get this done and come back to the next meeting with your recommendations?”

4.  Take a holistic perspective – realize that everything is connected, everything is going to be affected by everything else.  The energy of everyone in the room, the things spoken and unspoken, the weather, the things going on in people’s personal lives and your own stuff, and even larger influences, like world events – all of these things impact ourselves, our groups, our entire communities.  To pretend they do not is simply denial.  Take into account the grief people may be feeling about a school shooting, the excitement of an upcoming game or concert, or apprehension about a decision that must be made.

5.  Combine openness, transparency, and trust.  If you are willing to trust that the best and highest good is what you want to have happen, and until proven otherwise that’s what everyone else wants, then you can afford to be transparent.  It’s been proven time and again that things work so much more effectively if people feel they have a personal stake in creating what’s going on.  A leader’s example of openness goes a long way to drawing in the commitment of others to a group project.


Valentine McKay-Riddell
has a lifetime of experience with using and sharing leadership in order to achieve change for good.  This fall she is teaching Conscious Leadership for Turbulent Times at Cherry Hill Seminary.  The class is open to the public, or to students working towards a CHS certificate, and also to master’s students.  Registration is open now and classes start the week of Sept 9.
Cherry Hill Seminary is the leading provider of education and practical training in leadership, ministry, and personal growth in Pagan and Nature-Based spiritualities.

Cherry Hill Seminary is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organized in the state of South Carolina. Web site copyright by Cherry Hill Seminary in 2010, all rights reserved.

Contact us at P.O. Box 5405, Columbia, SC 29250-5405, or by email

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