Greetings to you, Oh Curious Wanderer! Welcome to the blog of The Curio Cabinet and it’s owner, the Wizard of Grand. The Curio Cabinet was established in 2010 to serve those seekers of a magical life. Besides being the online occult journal of the Wizard, thecuriocabinet.wordpress.com will serve as an interface for clients to learn about the Wizard and the development of The Curio Cabinet. Check out what The Curio Cabinet and the Wizard have to offer! Curious about our terminology?
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Mary Standing Otter is the main Mama Shaman at Otter Lodge, a Woman’s Circle exploring the Feminine Mysteries. Sisters in Circles grew from the experiences and group work of the members of Otter Lodge.Truly a system of shamanistic exploration and initiation, Sisters in Circles shares esoteric teachings and healing techniques in 4 workshops. If you are a spiritually-inclined woman in the West Michigan area (or anywhere for that matter, Mary will travel!), I recommend checking out their website and their blog Teachings from the Mother Lodge. While I have not had the pleasure of meeting Mary Standing Otter, I do know some of the women who have worked with her and how grateful they are for her wisdom.
UNTITLED So you want to be a witch* a bruja* a medicine woman* a wise woman a healer . . . . . Sit down outdoors with your spine straight and your shoulders back. Open your chest and clear your throat. Speak from the simple silent soul place deep in your belly. Speak to the earth to the sky to the wild ones and to the world. Speak to the ancestors and say : Make me a witch a bruja a medicine woman a wise woman a healer . . . . . Pull out one hair from your head, one small symbolic bit of self lay it on the ground and say Good Bye. Don’t look back. Ride the wildest roller coasters sled down hills that are a little to steep a little to fast a little to icy. Learn to breath when you’re frightened, sing when you’re tired, laugh through tears and comfort a loved one when there are no answers. Learn to laugh loud and change gears on a steep hill without rolling back. Get a good car and sensible shoes. Grow your hair long, brush it often and bathe in honey, flower petals and sweet oil. These are essential skills because Spirit will strip you of pride so that you may know power. Spirit will strip you of pity so that you may reach into any hole, no matter how deep, and help another to begin climbing. Spirit will lead you, eyes open and hair flying head long into the stone wall of your own foolishness and knock loose the broken shards of your old self so that they rattle around in your skull go liquid and settle in the base of your brain to drip down through your body flow out your feet and fertilize flowers on the footpath. Spirit will drop you into the lap of trouble with only one tool in your pocket And your wisdom will be judged by how long you search everywhere but there for just the right cure. Spirit will furnish you with a sticky page photo album complete with perfect pictures of every scabby knee, every broken heart, every callous word, every wasted moment, and it will fly through the pages and flash by your face like an old silent movie whenever you are about to screw up through arrogance. Bind it in your favorite color. Place it with your Holy Books. Learn to think while you are falling and believe in Magic strong enough to turn the rock surface hurtling toward you to cool water. Close your eyes, point your toes, raise your arms, straighten your spine, hit the water clean as an arrow shot and remember that sometimes the only difference between falling and flying is the way you land. So, you want to be a witch a bruja a medicine woman a wise woman a healer . . . . . Learn to recognize the enemy, sleep sitting up, face everything, walk away from anything, pee in the woods, efficiently pack a suitcase and sing a Sacred Self song Learn to be helpless and helpful fulfilled and a walking void a midwife and a funeral directorand then, you may begin . . . . .
“The path from that first [Purification] Lodge to this moment has been very full and has seems longer than 24 years. I have trained with several teachers; some were benevolent and helpful, others were caustic and abusive of their position. But I was hungry to learn so I learned from all of them. The knowledge I gained made the difficult times worth the work. For a long time I learned because I was simply too stubborn to suffer for nothing and not yet wise enough to end the suffering.”– Mary Standing Otter
For a few years, ever since I heard about the extremely frightening and mysterious fact that honey bees are disappearing off the face of the Earth, I have wanted to know more about them. I generally do not get along with the Insect & Arachnid empires. In fact, Spider Goddess is my most feared and important Animal totem. What fear had been reserved for kthonic goddesses like Hekate, Persephone, Hel and others in ancient and not-so-ancient times is mine for Spider. I have learned much from her and have much more to learn. However, I digress. I’m talking about the Bees.
Yesterday at my-day job I was cleaning out the garbage cans. I mean scrubbing them from top-to-bottom inside-out. Standing next to the little gazebo for the Ice Cream Shop next to my store enjoying the few moments of bright sunshine during what has otherwise been a chilly start to Spring in West Michigan, a little buzzer quite like the one depicted to the left landed on a wooden plank only a few inches away from me. It just sat there, poked out its super-long tongue and rubbed it with it’s front feet. It was the first honey bee that I had seen this year and it was as if GOD appeared to me in the form of the Bee.
Now, for the past few weeks I’ve been studying up on the mythological representations and religious dealings with them. In my far away fantasy land of Ancient Greece, there were the Melissae, bee priestesses that have been identified as priestesses of various gods and goddesses. Among some of them are Demeter, Artemis, Dionysus, Aphrodite as well as aspects of certain goddesses just called Melissae. Some stories say Melissae was a nymph who took care of the infant Zeus. Meli means honey in Greek. Mead was the first intoxicant brewed by humans (but probably fermented naturally on its own). The Melissae on Crete were beekeepers. History shows that after the fall of Crete, the mainland Greeks did not carry on the art of beekeeping.
Bees kinda scare me but fill me with awe. I think that they are my favorite insect. And how dependent on them are we? So much! They pollinate most of our crops and without them we would have to do the nearly-impossible task of pollinating them by hand. The honey bees give us is so nutritious. My partner’s 100 year old Greek Grandmother eats plain Greek yogurt and honey on top all the time.
What’s really cool about honey to me is that it begins as nectar secreted by the flower (which anyone who has stared at certain flowers for a while has probably realized that they are not-so-secretly genitalia). Then, the bee comes along and seduces the flower (or is it the other way around). The bee takes in that nectar and processes it inside it’s body. When it gets to the hive it throws all this up for the baby-bees to eat. Bees are truly Alchemists.
They are also Oracles, or at least the helpers of humans acting as Oracles. Some sources say that the Oracle at Delphi was a Bee Oracle before she became Apollo’s, which kind of contradicts the whole Python thing… but perhaps the Oracle gained her sight from Bees, not the serpent. It is said that Apollo gained his foresight from three bee-goddesses, the Thriae. Even a Greek heros has been identified with bees and the mantic arts, Trophonios. There is a really interesting Spirit-worker named Dver that works with Trophonios in her oracles during the Dark-half of the year, reserving the Light-half for Apollo and Delphic-style oracle.
In my opinion, Bees. Are. Awesome. In days ahead of me I want to make some sort of tool that acknowledges all of my animal spirits. Represented would be Fox, Cat, Snake, Spider, and Bee. I feel like I’ve been having static-y Divination sessions lately. Maybe I should turn to Bee for mantic assistance?
Well, like the bee dispatched by the Queen in her chamber, I too must go out into the wilds to find myself some sustenance. I think a Gyro sounds great. Maybe some honey-soaked Baklava to honor the Bee after?