Magic all around us

THERE’S MAGIC ALL AROUD US…Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, this time of year, I focus on pursuing my passions.  I love to attend Festivals and Fairs.  This time of year there are hundreds of such opportunities all over Florida, every weekend.  The task at hand, is to decide where to go, which event to attend.   I am blessed to be able to travel.  Some of these events create distinct moments where magic happens.  Others present opportunities to achieve altered states.  And all of them provide me with so much happiness and freedom.

And, when I’m not at a Festival or Fair, I return yet again, to the Wild.  I look, and look, and look and then See.

And in between all of that, I rest.

Magic is everywhere.20180114_141557

Share your peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky, and the Big Waters all around us…


Fire Season is coming

In the Earthways Shamanic Path, I study the seasons as they unfold in my location, which is Southwest Florida.  The seasons here are, Rainy, Hurricane, Dry, and Fire.  I call this, ‘finding the Magic In the land,’

Fire Season starts in mid-February.  Some of the physical markers are, a doubling of our population, a drop in temperature, an increase in fires.  These markers relate to the spiritual aspects, which I’ll address in a different post.

I know Fire Season is coming, because the Live Oak trees are brimming with their flower parts, and will release “scree” soon.  Scree can be collected, dried, and used in place of sage, for smudging purposes. 

I don’t have Live Oak trees in my yard, but I know where they are.  The trick to collecting scree is it needs to fall onto a tarp, or on a paved surface, because it is whispy.

Scree burns fast, and you need to gather a lot of it.  Since the weather patterns have shifted so much, trees are blooming at unpredictable times.  Thus, when we see that the trees are just about to release the scree, we need to be prepared to collect it, that day, or the next. 

Share your peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the big Waters all around us.

(c) 2017 to present, Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved. 


Time between Fire and Rain

Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, when does one year end and the next begin?

I’ve been looking at the Wheel of the Year here in Southwest Florida for a number of years, and writing about it for about five.  I’m trying to “fix” the date when Fire Season “ends,” and Rainy Season “starts.”  For a few years, I felt the Seasons changed in mid-April.  The rain starts to start in mid-April, in most years.  By that I mean, we start to have rain storms in mid-April but they don’t hit their daily stride until mid-June.

This is really important to me because I feel that Rainy Season is the Start of the Year, here in Southwest Florida (as opposed to October 31-Samhain or January 1-New Years).  That’s because so many things end in mid-June:  people graduate or move.

We recently celebrated Beltane (Beltaine) here on May 1st.  That’s a fire celebration.  Makes sense that we are in Fire Season from THAT stand point.

I need to step up my phenology studies and really monitor things like what are the average temps, what 20160409_161218is in bloom, which animals are present, and, what’s going on in the night sky.

Do you see the wind?

When it is windy, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, do you see it? What do you experience, when it is windy? If I’m indoors, I see the effects of wind: I see the flags flapping, and I see the tree branches and leaves whipping. A leaf or two may roll by, like a small tumbleweed. But that is not the wind, itself, just a manifestation of the wind.20160321_102639

If I go outside, I can hear the wind, whistling through the tree branches or leaves. (Am I hearing the wind, or the tree, reacting to the wind?) While outside, I can feel the wind hitting my face, my arms, and wherever it hits.

And, while outside, I notice that which direction the wind is coming from. And I note, this is a cold wind, bringing cold air and temperatures down from other parts of the country.

When I talk about the local seasons, our local wheel of the year, I must remember that a marker of Fire Season, is Wind.

How do you see the wind?

Share your Peace with Our Earth.

(c) 2016 Whale Maiden

The Edison Festival of Light

There are many festivals in Southwest Florida during Fire Season, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, but the “granddady” of them all — the biggest display of lights, is the Edison Festival of Light Parade, which honors Thomas Edison and his many inventions, and it comes to Fort Myers, February 20th.

One way you can tell it is getting to be time for the Parade is to go downtown Fort Myers this time of year, and inspect the sidewalks.  Chances are, you’ll see duct tape on the sidewalks, like this:

Marking Our Spot for the Edison Parade
Marking Our Spot for the Edison Parade

That’s right.  This time of year, people put tape of different colors on the sidewalks along the Parade Route, to reserve  “their spot,” and as far as I know, this system works.  As it gets closer to the actual Parade Day, people will put out yard chairs.  This has been going on for over 30 years.

Southwest Florida has over 1.5 million people in six counties.

Fire Season is coming February 15th

So, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, the Wheel of the Year is turning as we speak, and Fire Season is almost here in Southwest Florida. We are winding down the rainiest Dry Season I’ve ever seen.  In the Earthways Shamanic Path, we observe the Seasons right where we live and honor the turning of the wheel of the year, with ceremonies for them.  I use Southwest Florida in most of my examples because that is where I live.

You may recall that in Southwest Florida, the spiritual aspect of  Dry Season is a time of respite after Hurricane Season, a time to enjoy the beautiful Florida weather before the bulk of the Tourists arrive.  This year has been unusual, in that we have had  11 inches of rain in January.  The average is just under 2 inches in January.

One of the physical markers of Fire Season, which starts February 15th is that the temperatures have been dropping.  People turn on their heaters, or start their fireplaces:  the smell of smoke wafts through the air.  We get skies with just a bit of haze in them from the fires.   One of the big thing that happens in Southwest Florida (from October to April) is the burning of the Sugar Cane fields prior to harvesting it.  You can read more about sugar cane harvesting .  Fire Season runs till about mid-June.  At the tail end of Fire Season, the thunder cloudes start forming and we start getting a lot of heat and lightning, and eventually, forest fires.  To prepare for forest fire season, this is the time of year when foresters do “prescribed burns.”  This clears the underbrush to minimize the risk of fires later in the year.  Sometimes, these perscribed burns get out of control because of unexpected winds.

palms after a fire, January 2016

The final physical marker of Fire Season in Southwest Florida is that we are teeming with visitors:  Every street and highway is full.  Doctors’ offices are full.  Churches are full.  The list of festivals to attend each weekend, is staggering:  it isn’t possible to attend every festival that you want to.

We will be having a Fire Season Celebration on Wednesday, February 10th from 7:00 PM to 8:30 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers. (UUCFM).  Come about 6PM for the Community Dinner.  Then, we will gather — probably starting in Room 4, and have a ceremony to honor the end of Dry Season, and the beginning of Fire Season.

And, Share Your Peace with Our Earth.

~Whale Maiden~

~~~ ♡ ~~~

Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere. You just need to explore the magic of your land. What is it saying to you? What are the seasons, where you live? What do they mean to you? How are they celebrated?

Join Whale Maiden in the discussion at the Earthways Shamanic Path – Facebook Group

(c) 2000 to present, Whale Maiden. All Rights Reserved

A rainy Fire Season

This time of year we celebrate Fire Season in Southwest Florida, which starts in mid-February and usually runs to mid-May.  In the Florida Earthways Shamanic Path, Fire Season is characterized by an influx of seasonal residents, and an influx of tourists.  Fire Season is also the time when it doesn’t rain much here, so there are numerous festivals each weekend.  You have to save your money all year to be able to attend all the Festivals and Faires that happen during Fire Season.  And, you have to decide what matters to you because there are so many choices.

Do you like food?  Music?  Art?  Dancing?  Car Races?  Swamp Cabbage?  Hot Air Balloons?  Charity Auctions and Balls?  There are festivals devoted to all these kinds of things, and more, all over Southwest Florida, this time of year.  But you can’t do it all!

Normally, the temperature is “seasonable,” which means that the end of January is still kind of cold, and then in February, the air temps start warming up and we have cool mornings and dry and comfortable afternoons.  We typically see the afternoon heat reach 80 degrees.  And there is usually little humidity.  And, we usually get very little rain during Fire Season, hence the name.

This year, we have had higher temps, more humidity and, rain.  Lots of rain.


Fire Season and the explosion of riches

Let’s continue exploring what Fire Season is all about here in Southwest Florida.   This is the time of year when people are visiting us from the Northern United States and Canada.   People stay for a week or two or more, perhaps a couple of months.  To the visitors, it is warm here, compared to Michigan or Ohio, or Pennsylvania, where it is below freezing.  Consequently, January-February- and March is when we have every imaginable festival going on.  It is an explosion of riches.

There are:  Food festivals, arts festivals, medieval faires, music festivals; Concerts, Circuses, and Open Houses and parades of homes, and street parades, and more.  There are also all the fund-raisers events going on.  The charity balls, the galas, the silent auctions. Most of these events are held on the weekends.

And there is typically at least 3 different things you want to do each weekend, and people have to make decisions about what they will attend, and what they will have to skip this year.  (Of course, some events may migrate to the net town up the road, next weekend so if you want to catch it, you could go on a road trip.)  Most people have a limited allowance of money or time to spend on all this activity.  You have to budget accordingly.

But in a few months, all that activity will die down.  The Snowbirds will leave, and it will become too hot to have festivals outdoors every weekend.  (At least, too hot for most people.)  There will still be some events like boat races and the seafood festivals.

SO the yearly influx of people is like a fuel for the fire of the yearly smorgasbord of festivals.

Is It Fire Season, already?

I think we are starting Fire Season, a little early this year.  That’s Fire Season, according to the Florida Earthways Path, which is a spiritual way of honoring life in Florida.   In the Florida Earthways Path, there are four seasons:  Fire, Rainy, Hurricane and, Dry.  They are not all the same length.  They do not coincide with the four seasons you may be familiar with, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

How do you know when it is Fire Season?  When things are burning!

Keep in mind that Florida is the Lightning Capital of the World (at least, Tampa Florida is,) and it would be logical to think that fire season happens in August-September-October, when we have all the thunderstorms.  Except as you know, we have lots of Hurricanes then, and they are the main focus so that is Hurricane Season, not Fire Season.

Fire Season always immediately follows Dry Season.  Fire Season happens when things have gotten so dried out, that things ignight or combust.  They do this because of sparks.   This time of year, the major contributor to Fire Season, are sparks from other fires.  People set fires in Florida for several reasons, this time of year.

1.  First, people are trying to stay warm.  Laugh all you want, but when the daytime temperature gets down to about 60 degrees, Fahrenheit, Floridians start whimpering and turn on the heat.  If they don’t have central heat, they light space heaters, or build fires in their fireplaces.  So, this is the time of year you can buy firewood at the local Publix.

Signs of Fire Season-firewood - Copy

These little fireplace fires create a bit of smog on our otherwise pristine air quality.

2.  This is also the time of year when the forest service conducts its controlled burns, to clear the underbrush in selected areas.  They do this to reduce the quantity of fuel available in a forest fire.  (Seems to me that many times, the controlled burns get loose, and cause more fires.  But that’s a matter for a different post…)

3.  This is also the time of year when some farmers need to burn back old growth.  (Think Sugar Cane.)


Heading Into Fire Season

We are heading into Fire Season here in Southwest Florida.  How can I tell?  In the past two weeks, the day time temperature has hit 80 degrees every day.  It is Hot.  People are talking about how hot it is.  The psychological shift that year-rounders under go, to cope with the extreme heat we know is coming, is underway. 

It isn’t Humid yet.  (Humidity is the province of Rainy Season.)  It is Dry and Windy.

The Yellow Blossom Trees are coming into bloom.  {I’ve got to get a good picture of them THIS year!  I think I missed them last year…}

And, the Live Oak trees have flowered and dropped their seeds.  I call this stuff, ‘oak skree.’  I’ll post a photo of it, in a moment.  I gather this stuff in broad daylight and put it into whatever container I have when I see it.  Sometimes I gather it in an empty to-go drink cup; this time I gathered it into an empty bag from Wendy’s Drive Through.

I use oak skree  ceremoniously, the way some people use Sage, (*) but you have to watch out because oak skree burns FAST.  It is not a lazy, meditative smudging tool like Sage is!

(*) see “Uses of Sage,” in the next post.

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