In Greek mythology, Alcyone (Al-sigh- ah-nee) and Ceyx (Sea-icks) were a happy couple. Ceyx went traveling over the ocean and due to bad storms, lost his life at sea, his wife so distraught, threw herself into the ocean. The Gods felt so sorry for them, that they turned Alcyone and Ceyx into halcyon birds, also associated kingfishers. The Roman poet Ovid in his writing explains the term “Halcyon Days”, as halcyon, would lay her eggs during the winter solstice, her father the God of winds, Aeolus would calm the seas and wind so that she could safely make her nest. Some say the legendary bird herself could calm the seas so she could lay her nest that would gently float upon the sea. The phrase has since come to mean a time of calm and peace. The dictionary defines halcyon as “peaceful, gentle, calm, happy, carefree, tranquil, and prosperous.”
My preferred version of the story is that the Halcyon birds themselves calmed the seas so they could lay their nests upon the water. It must have taken great strength, commitment, and personal power to do this. How might we be like the Halcyon? How do we calm our own seas so that we might thrive?
I believe the answer here is finding balance. If you’re stressed out, your magick won’t work well. You have to take care of yourself. It’s a good idea to do a self-assessment occasionally. Think about the elements within you? Are they harmonious? Are you resting and eating well? Are you communicating clearly and effectively with patience and kindness? Are you taking time to be creative? Are you nurturing yourself in a spiritual practice regularly?
As the Wheel of the Year turns and we face the busy holiday season, many of us are spending time with extended family. One of the things that can try to upset our Halcyon peace is extended family and outside folks who question how you are living your life. Sometimes family may not understand or appreciate our path, or worse, they have something negative to say about it. My thoughts on this are to be kind but firm in your response to them. Depending on the audience, I’m also careful to tell people about my spiritual path. Before these situations happen, I will do a quick spell for peace, place sigils in my home, and sage the place after folks leave to remove any negativity. Let your home and your mind be your sanctuary of tranquility.
With peace and harmony, our magick can thrive. We can transform ourselves. We can live joyfully and fully. May you be a Halcyon bird wherever you may go. As my Buddhist brothers and sisters may say in meditation, “May you be filled with loving kindness. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be whole.”
In mirth and reverence,
Have you ever smelled the original green Palmolive dish soap? Or Ponds’ cold cream? Or maybe theperfume Knowing? Or the Bath and Body Works lotion Moonlight Path? All these smells remind me of my grandmother. She moved on to the Summerland about 3 years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t
think about her. She was very special to me. She was an elegant lady, kind to everyone she met, but also strong and wise. She held a quiet dignity and she was a fabulous listener. She was so very different than me, and yet…I wish to be more like her. Interestingly, my daughter is quite like her, not only in personality but in style and grace. What a blessing to me that so many of the things that I valued in my grandmother have shown up in my daughter’s developing adult personality.
My grandmother’s love reminds me of the goddess Kuan Yin and her gentle unconditional love. She inspired me in my career and in my faith. She encouraged me to think critically and she loved me just the way I was. Having this kind of foundation gave me the freedom to explore and to be confident, even when I didn’t knowing where I was going.
In Wicca, we celebrate the stories and personalities of deities who can bring comfort, strength, and inspiration to our lives. We also honor our ancestors for the same reason. Those who came before laid a path that either we build upon or we bulldoze and make new. Ancestors of blood or spirit can aide us in our lives as we seek to live fully.
The other day, I was watching a video of the scientist Neil de Grasse Tyson and the philosopher Jason Silva as they discussed the scientific and spiritual nature of life and death. Tyson said, “Why should death be anything different than the absence of life before you are born?” Silva says, “As creatures of mind and meaning, we have angst of existing as temporary beings.” Tyson says, “What give meaning to the life that we will know only once? My knowledge that I will die gives focus to every day that I am alive. The way to rage against the dying of the light is to be as alive as possible while you are. Life gives meaning to life, and what we do with it, that gives meaning. Knowing you are going to die gives you focus to live more fully.”
As we near the sabbat Samhain, let us be mindful to not only honor the lives of our ancestors but to celebrate the life we are living now. Let us live fully. As Jason Silva says, “Let us be drunk on awe”. So, that we make each and every day of our lives matter more and that compassion and creativity fill each moment we are here. I think my grandmother would agree, it’s a good way to live.
In mirth and reverence,