Gathering the oak scree

This is the time of year, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans everywhere, when we collect the Oak Scree and Cypress needles for the next 12 months of smudging. One of the tennents of the Earthways Shamanic Path, is to go out into your lands and find the magic that dwells there, and honor it.

oak thingsFor us here in Southwest Florida, following this path means we do not use white sage for smudging.  It doesn’t grow here, and sage shouldn’t be used for “every” ceremony or occasion.  Instead, we collect the tree flowers or tree leaves/needles that have fallen off the trees around us, locally.   The challenge is to gather enough for the coming year.  How much do we need?  How often would you like to smudge yourself? !  Right, it is hard to know how much to gather.

The Live Oak trees only produce their scree at this time of year.  (December to January.)  I like to collect it from trees that drape over parking lots, or sidewalks, since that makes it easier to collect the scree, when it bumps up to a curb.  Live Oak Scree has a very simple smell when burned.  It burns FAST, you will need a lot.

Cypress Tress, on the other hand, drop their leaves/needles a couple of times a year.  They can be gathered directly under the trees.  I like to collect a pinch here, and a pinch there, so as not to dig holes around the trees.  The leaves/needles smell good when dried, and again, burns fast.

I also use rosemary and a few other locally grown herbs, to add  to my smudging blends.

Look around where you live, and where you go out into the wilderness, and see what grows that you can harvest, safely and legally.  Learn what poison ivy and other poisonous plants and trees looks like and do not use any parts for smudging.  Also, know what plants are protected species and do not harvest them.

And while smudging, share your Peace with Our Earth.

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

(c) 2015, Whale Maiden, all rights reserved

Dry Season in Southwest Florida – pace yourself!

Hello Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, welcome, finally, to Dry Season.

To catch you all up a bit, here in the Earthways Shamanic Path, I’m writing about the Seasons from a place-based point of view.  I encourage you to really get to know Mother Earth where you live, to learn what the Seasons are where you live, beyond the four known as “Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer.” 

Dry Season starts in Southwest Florida in mid-October, and runs till about mid-February.  The first obvious marker of Dry Season, is that it stops raining every day.  And, it gets markedly less humid in Dry Season.  So all the people say, “Ahhhhhh, it is such a nice day out!!!”  The light is shifting.  Different trees are blooming now, and different fruits and vegetables are growing now.  Birds are beginning to migrate here from other places.

Turner Road-Dry Season
Turner Road in Dry Season

And people are migrating here from all over the country.  Down here, we call them, Snowbirds.  (A Snowbird is different from a Tourist; Snowbirds tend to own property here, and stay for several months, whereas most Tourists rent and don’t stay as long.  A lot of people say there are only two seasons in Florida, Tourist Season and Rainy Season.  They are missing the nuances.)  There is a gradual influx of people until the crescendo in mid-February.  By then, our regional population about doubles.

Dry Season in Southwest Florida is marked by a surge in THINGS TO DO.   Suddenly, there are festivals all over Florida, every weekend.  There are art gallery openings and exhibits and contests.  There are plays and concerts.  There are fund raising events and college alumni get-togethers.  And, because it has stopped raining so much and the weather is more comfortable and less buggy, there are now all kinds of nature-oriented things to do too.  People go camping now, and there are swamp-walks and people go star-gazing and kayaking.

While most people were almost in hibernation-mode in their air-conditioned homes and offices during Hurricane Season, now in Dry Season, they can get out and about.

The primary Spiritual aspect of Dry Season is to pace yourself!  There is so much to enjoy, and most people can’t do everything.  You have to prioritize:  you have to decide what’s really important to you, and figure out how much time and other resources ($$$) you have, and do what you can.  And, you have to find your way to stay centered.  You need to carve out down-time for yourself, to restore your energetic reserves because if you try to do everything, you may tire yourself out.

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? 

And “Let’s Share Peace With Our Earth.”

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

(c) 2015, Whale Maiden.  All Rights Reserved.