Welcome fellow seekers to the monthly newsletter of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition. A collaboration of the elders, clergy and members of our tradition. Sometimes, we have entries from the extended tribe of the Pagan community here too. If you would like to have something of yours featured, please let us know! We accept newsletter submissions at the email address newsletter [at] spiritofthesycamore [dot] org any time.
If you missed the previous Sycamore Spirit newsletter you can still see it here: Sycamore Spirit Newsletter #8.
Signs and Omens - By Cianaodh Óg
Going with the flow. Whether we're floating down a river or traveling through life things tend to go easier for us when we work with the flow of nature rather than against it. Not only in how we live our lives in the physical world but in the metaphysical as well. While working on projects around the house with my wife's cousin recently we observed how my grandparents' generation built houses here in Texas differently from the way they are built today. My Aunt and Uncle had a farmhouse with a breezeway aligned specifically to direct any cool breeze that might blow in the summer time to maximize it's effect on cooling the home. People used to have root cellars and storm shelters too. The inventions of air conditioning and refrigeration changed peoples ideas about home construction but now, it seems, we find ourselves working against nature instead of with it. Would it not make more sense to utilize the best of these time tested building techniques so that the air conditioner would not have to work so hard in the summer and run up our electric bills? To my way of thinking it's better to pay attention to nature and live in harmony with it as much as possible so I often find myself looking at ways to utilize the suns energy rather than subvert it. Solar power, solar water heating, sun ovens, solar food dehydrators, good old fashioned clothes lines for drying laundry, that sort of thing. These things interest me because it seems to me that they are making the best of what nature provides and in so doing can make life a little easier.
But what does all of that have to do with my title above 'Signs and Omens' you ask? Well, I'm getting there so please be patient with me for a few more paragraphs. Quite often people speak of 'Murphy's Law' and 'bad luck' as reasons for when things go wrong or at the least not the way we think they should. In my temple and sometimes at the tradition-wide Sabbat rituals we observe a practice called 'Outdweller Offerings'. These are offerings made to appease spirits or energies which may be present but might not be in harmony with our workings. We give them in the hopes that they will take them and leave us be to do our workings unhindered. As above so below while there are Kindred who are looking out for us and are there to help us there are also those who are not necessarily our friends. Those who may even be adversaries. Then there are those who don't give a whit one way or the other about us or what we are doing. Isn't it the same in our human existences? We have our friends, family and tribe who are "we hope" all there to support us and help us on our paths. Then there are a whole lot of people we may see in passing every day. We don't know them and they don't know us. Our lives and theirs don't intermingle much so we're not deeply involved in what they might be doing. Then there are the adversaries. Maybe it's a co-worker who seems bent on making your job more difficult or a neighbor who complains to code enforcement about the way you landscape your yard or that your dog barks too much. There are even criminals out there who might rob or otherwise harm you. These could be the outdwellers of the human world. But as a whole I believe the good people outnumber the bad and I also believe that the good spiritual entities outnumber the bad. But the bad are out there and they might be doing things to trip us up. Could these account for 'Murphy's Law' or 'Bad Luck'? I believe they could. But also, I believe that sometimes if we are finding obstacles on our path to where we think we should be going it could be because our "good guys" in the spiritual realm; Our Kindred; Our Spirit Guides; Our gods, ancestors, etc. might be trying to tell us something. They might be trying to say "Hey! You're going the wrong way! There's trouble down that path, turn around."
These are the times that I think we should pause and look around, listen, perhaps employ some divination. If it seems that everything is flowing against you then consider whether or not you might be going the right direction. I've read somewhere that when we make up our minds to go somewhere or to make something happen then the universe conspires to make it happen. Doors of opportunity suddenly open up for us we didn't expect. A windfall of funds right when we need it or some other good fortune or 'luck' might come our way. Is it that or is it our Kindred saying "Yes! You're going the right way. Here, let me help you!"? It's something to consider. Our ancestors put a lot of regard into signs and omens and exactly which sights, happening or observances counted as a sign or omen varied from culture to culture. But I think we serve ourselves well to take not of anything that seems out of the ordinary and consider what it might mean. Are the Kindred speaking to us? I believe they are in some way or another every day. But are we listening?
Book Reviews - By Arachne Crowsinger
The Spiritual & Psychic Development Workbook – A Beginners Guide by Helen Leathers & Diane Campkin
Yes, buy it and read it! This book is a wonder beginning step for people to learn how to use energy, wield and enhance any natural talents, learn new ones and maybe some you didn’t know you wanted to embrace. Written with a practical and common sense approach in a well thought out, short and concise manner. It includes exercises for both solitary and group practice and the website has free downloads of the Appendices Information and worksheets.
For anyone new to a spiritual path that is interested in developing both their psychic and spiritual skills, this is the book to get you started, and as far as this HPS is concerned a MUST read for everyone in her coven.
Practical Techniques of Psychic Self-Defense by Murry Hope
This book’s title is completely misleading. No real technique is taught or discussed. A more apt Title would be Practical Theory of Psychic Work.
This book go more into discussing theories and experiences and cautions against what one should or shouldn’t do on ones journey. No actual exercises to help with Psychic Self-Defense to help a student learn.
I would still recommend to read as it is a short 93 pages long and gives good practical advice but not a must read as far as I’m concerned.
Prayer & Blessing Requests
We occasionally receive requests throughout the month for prayers and blessings as members of our tribe and extended spiritual family struggle through the challenges of life as well as share in their triumphs and new journeys on their paths. Here, we ask that you add a candle to your altar or otherwise send energies to the following people who have requested prayers and blessings:
Cianaodh, an elder of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition and HP of Temple Of the Standing Stones shares this prayer from Patti Wigington of Pagan/Wiccan at About.com
Kids' Samhain Prayer
Samhain is here, cold is the earth,
as we celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth.
Tonight we speak to those through the veil,
the lines between worlds are thin and frail.
Ghosts and spirits in the night,
magical beings rising in flight,
owls hooting up in a moonlit tree,
I don't fear you and you don't fear me.
As the sun goes down, far to the west,
my ancestors watch over me as I rest.
They keep me safe and without fear,
on the night of Samhain, the Witches' New Year.
TOSS = Temple Of the Standing Stones hosted events
MWC = Mystic Willow Coven hosted events
SOS = Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition events
TOSS - Clergy Day - Saturday, October, 1st
Temple Of the Standing Stones clergy takes the weekend nearest the New Moon off to spend time with their families and friends beyond their spiritual family as we see these bonds as very important to our growth on our path and we seek to maintain these connections.
MWC - Craft and New Moon Day - Sunday October 2nd 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Mystic Willow Coven's New Moon meeting along with Craft day.
Get a chance to spent the day with a bunch a witches and make fun crafts!
Prior approval is needed before new members are allowed to attend.
Location : Private
TOSS - Early Esbat - Saturday, October, 8th
Because the full moon falls on a weekend in which two of our families are both celebrating birthdays for their children we decided to move our esbat up a week so that we may share energies and cover some temple business.
Our apologies, but Esbats are open to Initiated Clergy, Spouses and Candidates ONLY as these are the times we do our personal magickal workings and hold temple business meetings. Please feel free to attend our next open event though!
TOSS - Clergy Day - Saturday, October, 15th
Because two of our clergy families have children with birthdays on this weekend we are taking an extra Clergy Day Off this month so we can focus on these family events. Thank you for your understanding and patience. Many blessings to you and yours!
SOS - Potential Samhain Work Weekend - Friday, October, 21st - Sunday, October 23rd
We haven't nailed this down for certain yet but if the weather and scheduling gods are kind to us we are considering using this weekend to go to Armadillo Acres and laying down some preliminary preparations for our upcoming Samhain Campout event.
SOS - Samhain Camping- Friday, October, 28th - Sunday, October 30th
Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition will be camping at Armadillo Acres for this weekend as we celebrate with Haunted Trail and Tent-Or-Treat for the kids, tradition initiations, dedications and elevation ceremonies as well as a Samhain ritual. Tickets will be $20 per adult if purchased in advance or $25 at the gate. There are no showers on the property but there is a park 7 miles down the road with showers which has a $4 entry fee per vehicle. 2 porta-potties will be provided for the event (more if advance purchase tickets exceed expectations). This will be a "rough" camping environment so please pack and plan accordingly.
Please see a tradition elder to purchase advance tickets.
From Dallas, head east on I-30 to Mount Pleasant. (About 115 miles depending where you are coming from).
Exit #160 to Highway 271/highway 49 and turn right. Watch your signs through Mount Pleasant and stay on 49.
Continue on Highway 49 approximately 17 miles to Daingerfield. Watch your signs through town and stay on 49. Continue on Highway 49 approximately 8 miles until you are just past Hughes Springs.
(There is a 4-Way stop at the intersection and it is right next to the Wildflower Inn and Cafe. Great place to stop for food. Decent price, large quantity, home made, damn tasty.) Turn right on FM 2612 Loop.
Continue about 0.5 miles. Turn left at the "Love Chapel Cemetary" sign. (The County Roads are not marked very well if at all out there. Just watch for the Love Chapel sign, it's easy to spot.)
Continue about 1 mile. Road will merge with another, stay left. Continue about another 0.5 miles. (You will go past CR 2987 on your right but not as far as the Love Chapel Church on the left.) Gate will be on your left and not easy to see until you are right on it. There is a green "Underground Cable" box very close, watch for it.
People from other locations, use the intersection of Highway 49 and FM 2612 as your way point. It is just south east of Hughes Springs and north west of Avinger. Find your best route to that location.
If you would like to help support our efforts please consider donating at one of our gathering where donation jars are always available or you may use Mystic Willow Coven's Chip In feature on Meetup:
Mystic Willow Coven: https://secure.meetup.com/Mystic-Willow-Coven/contribute/
What are we up to? Find out each month (Usually first Saturday morning) by signing up to receive our newsletter by email:
May the kindred bless and keep you,
The tribe of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition