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

Why not use Sage in Florida?

I want to invite the Florida Pagan/ Metaphysical community to think beyond using sage in all your rituals and gatherings.

How did you start using sage?  I mean, who taught you to use sage, and for what purposes?

Is sage native to Southwest Florida?  Does anyone grow it locally/ organically?

How do you feel about using sage?

What can we use in place of sage, to establish sacred space?

I’d like to hear from you about this.

(Don’t just “like” this post, this is a discussion item!!!)

Building a Florida Medicine Wheel (part 1)

We will be using a template from the Sun Bear information to build our Medicine Wheel.  We will work collectively over the next 12 months, to convert this into a Florida Medicine Wheel.

If you plan to attend the Ceremony and help build the Medicine Wheel, this is what you need to do to prepare:

1.  Tomorrow or Monday:  This is really, really important.  This is your gift to the Medicine Wheel.  Look around where you live and select a TREE, and then gather off the ground under it, a couple of handfuls of dry,  natural objects but only one kind per tree.  For example, if you select a pine tree, you would gather pine cones, or pine needles, but not both.  We can use flower petals, oak tree scree (leaves and seed stuff) cedar tree leaves, bean pods, whatever you are attracted to.  Collect only one kind, but bring a lot, at least what will fit into a gallon zip lock bag, when it is dried.  Collect it in the next day or two  and put it somewhere where it will dry out before Saturday morning.  You will need to check it each day and make sure it is drying.   Please note what Tree you collected from.  You may want to take a picture of the tree you gathered it under.  DO NOT BRING SAGE.

Orchid TreeOrchid Tree

Orchid Tree BlossomsOrchid Tree Blossoms -Drying

 2.  If you make coffee this week, save your old used filters with the grounds.  Put it in a separate container from the stuff you collect in Item #1.  We will use this to dump onto fire ants on the Tor.

 3.  Think about what you will bring for pot luck.

 4.  Make a note of your Birth Date and be prepared to think about Astrology in a different way.

 Saturday Morning,

 5.  Bring something Pot Luck-ish for us to eat.  This will be a lunch time meal, by the time we eat it.

 6.  Bring a gallon of water with you.  Some of it will be for you to drink during the Ceremony and Wheel Building, and some of it will be to help put out a fire.

 7.  Bring the following other items:  Sun hat, closed toed shoes, work gloves, drums and rattles (if you have them), folding chair, bug spray/sun block.

 Saturday, we will place all our objects in a holding spot on the Tor, in the North East corner.  We will identify the four directions.  We will conduct a Ceremony, involving songs and drumming and movement and chanting.  We will make a fire on the Tor. 

 Then we will begin building the Medicine Wheel.

 To make the Medicine Wheel, we will pick up and relocate 36 rocks.  They are different sizes. They will form the shape of the Medicine Wheel, which is a big circle with the four quadrants in it.  Each time we pick up a rock, we will say what its significance is, and offer it to the 4 directions plus Mother Earth/Father Sky.    This takes an hour or more.

 After we get the Medicine Wheel built, we will work with it a bit.  We will stand where we were born.  We will stand at February 22.  We will stand at East, South, West and North.

Then we will conclude the Wheel Building portion of the event.

 At that point, we will eat,  and then you are free to leave.

You may return to visit the Medicine Wheel any time you like.

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.