Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ashley Rieflin's Personal Page for 2014 POLAR PLUNGE Canandaigua



On Saturday I will once again be participating in a charity that means a lot to me. I will be jumping into the freezing waters of Canandaigua Lake to raise money for Special Olympics of New York. I am asking for your donation to sponsor me. I ask for this donation not just so I can have bragging rights about the amount of money I was able to raise, but because the money will help someone feel love and acceptance in what can sometimes be a judgmental and unforgiving world.



I preach the word of love for everyone every day, no matter what their faith or understanding is. I believe we all deserve to fall into open arms. That we were born for a reason. So please help me raise money for a charity that means so much to me.



Thank you,

Ashley





Rieflin's Personal Page for 2014 POLAR PLUNGE Canandaigua

Monday, March 31, 2014

Do You Still Believe in Magick?




I will never grow out of magick.




I have been waiting, poised and elegant, prepared in away for the day I wake up and the belief in the world's ability to constantly shimmer with the golden light of possibility and promise has disappeared. I have written my will, arranged my possessions and have become peaceful with the thought that someday all of this will mean nothing to me. I will wake up one day, obsessed with the worries of the adult, the worries of providing for my family in the most practical manner possible. I will be obsessed with materialism. I will be convinced that my life is meant only for what society has in store for me.




But I am already providing for my family and obsessed with materialism. I am already a slave to the society that humanity has built even though I, as a human, would have the ability to change it if I chose. I am already an adult, but I believe in magick.




We waited. My family waited. My boyfriends waited. Even myself waited for the day I would stop believing that there was more to the world then the things that existed in our bubble, for we have indeed built a bubble around our existence and called it real.




What is even more sad is that I just spent an entire weekend trying to convince my boyfriend's three small children that magick is real. That men can turn into fish. That polar bears can talk. My mom yelled at me for telling them things that aren't true.


Of course my response was, “How do you know none of those things are true?”




I received an eye-roll of course. My mom has been waiting for years for me to grow out of my “Faerie Phase.” But that started when I was fourteen. I would demand books on faeries and magick and my mom thought it was ridiculous, I wasn't a kid anymore.




Now I'm twenty-six and still collecting the same knowledge, still dreaming the same dreams. I think at twenty-six, I am fully grown up. Anything I'm going to grow out of would have left me by now.




Especially a belief in magick.




How about you? Have you lost your belief in magick?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Farewell

 
Last night I lost my closest companion. More then a cat. More like a child. I had found him in a shelter when he was ten-weeks-old and he had jumped from his cage, filled with little black kittens identical to him, and into my arms. He chose me. So I took him home.


He was an energetic and mischievous kitten who always had to be touching us or playing. He would lay on our shoulders when we played video games or lay on my keyboard when I was working on my school work. Every night he'd sleep in between my legs or curled up on my pillow above my head. He was one of the smartest cats I had ever known. I taught him how to sit on command in two tries, and he never forgot.

 
 


Niko was addicted to treats and catnip and we considered putting him in rehab when he was only a year-old. The cat loved to indulge on everything he could, treats and loves. His favorite place to cuddle up was on my chest while I read a book, wrapped up in his favorite microfiber blanket.


Things changed when Niko was three and crystal blockages began to form in his urinary tract. After failing to keep this from happening to him every few weeks, we decided to invest in an invasive surgery that would ruin part of Niko's urinary tract and make it impossible for him to block again.


All was fine for a year, and then he began to suffer from chronic urinary tract infections. This is when my cat changed. A cat that was once loving now hated everyone but me. He hissed and growled whenever someone entered a room. He rarely cuddled and never purred. He would prefer to find a quiet spot above everyone, observing the room.


His life became pretty miserable. He was constantly finding ways to avoid the medications I had to feed him and we spent most of our time together fighting. He would run from the pills or drops or powders I needed to give him and he took out his stress and pain by refusing to use the litter box. I hate to say that in his last year, Niko and I felt more resentment for one another then love, and I will forever regret that.


I found out last night that his kidneys had failed and if we chose to have more invasive and painful surgeries, he would only have 50% chance of living. He and I both decided to end our fight. When I asked him if it was alright to say goodbye, there in a strange examination room at a strange vets, he began purring for the first time in weeks.


Niko was ready and in a large way I was also ready as well. I still see him everywhere. We knew he was with us in bed last night and we know that he will always be with us. He will be my spiritual sidekick for the rest of my life.


Niko's life was so short; he was not even six-years-old yet. I hope I gave him the best life in the short time he had and I will never stop feeling guilty that half his life was spent in pain, fighting endless infections. At least now he is free of a body that only ever caused him pain and is free to be the cat that he always wanted to be. My other cat Hunter will save a spot for him at the top of his cat tree, so that he can always lay in the sun.
 

Friday, March 21, 2014

It's Spring! And I'm Still Cold




 
It's spring every body! The snow is melting and the faeries are coming out to dance in the yard and in the gardens and shake the sleep from the eyes of crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths.

It is still quite cold where I live up in the far northern wastelands, beyond the wall. That doesn't mean that we aren't feeling the spring spirit! I spent my Ostara working hard to get the garden center I run all ready for business once the weather breaks. We are anticipating a busy spring. It has been such a harsh winter that everyone is going to be itching to work in their gardens and yards. I know I'm one of them. My spiritual organization, Spark of Divinity, just leased a gorgeous and historical mansion in my town known as The Garlock House. It has sat empty for the last couple years and I was put in charge of gardening and landscaping the grounds that were once famous for their rose garden. I can't wait for the ground to thaw so I can get to work.

 The forecast still shows temperatures in the 20's next week, so I still have to wait a bit longer.

After working out in the cold all day, I drove through freshly falling snow to home where I took a very hot ritual bath and did some singing meditations with my cats. My night ended by dancing around The Garlock House and crawling around its basement. I think that the faeries who have been sleeping on the grounds have heard our singing, seen our crystals and heard our prayers and they are beginning to wake up! I can't wait to dance with them come Beltane!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Ostara and I hope it was warmer, more green and less snowy where you are! What did you do? Any fun springtime traditions?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring Break




Juxtapoz Magazine - Painted Photographs by Shae Detar
 
 
The snow is melting and along with it my desire to do nothing but lay in bed all day, accompanied by either a book a movie or a video game, but most definitely not accompanied by writing or words. So I feel like writing a blog post again. And to give you guys some updates when it comes to the social media surrounding Magick Culture and fun stuff that only spring can bring.




First off, Magick Culture has its own Tumblr blog. I started it to get myself back into social media and blogging after months and months off from it. I have been away from the Internet for so long that I have almost forgotten how to use it! So I started a Tumblr and started getting myself into a new schedule. Usually, people are trying to find ways to wean themselves or “divorce” themselves from social media, while I have been struggling to get our relationship going again.




Taking a semester off from school did not help. I am studying Integrated Marking Communications, which is a smart way of saying “Using social media to make a living.” While I was working on my masters, I was in the thick of studying social media, advertising and communications and so immersed and fascinated by everything I was learning that I never wanted to stop. I took a semester off to work on my novel, (and to save up enough money to pay for the next semester) but instead I ended up playing lots of video games meant for twelve-year-old like Petz and Nancy Drew and watching a lot of TV shows with my boyfriend.




Don't get me wrong, I will play video games meant for a twelve-year-old until the day I die and my favorite activity will always be spending time with my boyfriend, but now that the weather is breaking I am going to spend a bit more of my free time not at my real job working on writing and blogging and everything that comes with it.




So what have you guys been up to this Winter? Did you get any projects completed, join any groups, start any new hobbies? I wish I had.



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Combating the Winter Blues

It's been a particularly cold and harsh winter, and there is no end in sight. I have felt the full effects of it effect my mood and my productivity. It's been difficult to get off the couch most days and it has been difficult to not yell at everyone at work for every little thing that annoys me. I have seen the same kind of thing happen to my coworkers and my family. Our health is rotten and our mental health is even worse.

So I blame that on not getting as early of a start on my 2014 creative projects as I would have liked. I've still been chipping away at them, but not with the gusto I've originally planned. Of course there is so much vitamin D a girl can take everyday (5000iu) and I work outside everyday despite the cold temperature, so I do get fresh air and occasional sunlight.

But I crave a walk in the woods and a swim in water. I crave campfires and days that are long and always light.

I was trying to work on a poem in time for Imbolc, but I am struggling with it. It goes something like "Remember us on these blue mornings when the worms whisper and the numb ground yearns for a touch of warmth. Remember us sleeping there beneath the snow, those who were born with the ability to light the world with our hands. Those of us without the strength to combat the snow queen's bands...."

Something like that.

So now I should be giving advice on how to break out of this. This is my digital magazine after all, and magazines are all about giving advice.

Well, I have no idea how to feel more creative and energized or productive when you're dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or even a case of the winter blues.

Just remind yourself that it will be over soon. Do what you can do every day and never apologize and never feel bad for what you were unable to get done. If I have to see one more blog posts that starts, "I'm sorry it's been a while..." I'm going to hold a Bloggers Anonymous video chat.

Surround yourself with your friends, chances are, they are going through the same thing right now. Support one another.

Get as much fresh air and sunlight as you can, despite the cold. Just go out there and take deep breaths for fifteen minutes a day.

In the meantime, hibernate. This is what winter is all about. It is time for us to rest up and reflect. So do that. There will be a time to create and play when spring comes.

Blessed be!
-Ashley


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Three Cauldrons - The Second Cauldron

 The widely accepted understanding of the Chakra - the seven Energy centers throughout the body - is not the only understanding there is. In the Celtic understanding of Energy within the body, every person contains three Cauldrons which hold their Essence of Being. In the following posts, I will tell you a little about each Cauldron, and how it can relate to our understanding of the Chakra.
There will be no Spell Crafting involved in these Cauldron discussions.  

If you need to catch up, you can learn about the First Cauldron here .

With your First Cauldron bubbling and brewing, all that warming, incubating heat has to go to use. All that Energy goes up into the Coire Ermai - the Second Cauldron.This is the Cauldron of Creation, the Cauldron that we must fill for ourselves. If the First is what we have, the Second is what we make. We put in the ingredients of our interests and passions to fill this Cauldron with what we want in our lives. In other words, what we put in is what we get out.
Hooray!! :)

Oh no!! :(

This is the Cauldron of Motion and Action. We must care for it though; we must stoke the fire and be sure that it is not getting too much or too little heat from the First Cauldron. We must also be sure that the Cauldron never tips over, fore the contents will spill out and we will lose sight of what we are doing.
If we put too much into this Cauldron, it will bubble over and we risk dowsing our flame. We've all experience being overwhelmed in life with too many things to do and very little time in which to do them. This sensation often makes us feel tired and we want to give up and not do anything. If you feel like this, your Cauldron has boiled over, the contests have spilled out, and your flame has been dowsed. Thankfully there are outside forces tending to the First Cauldron, so the flame is never completley put out and the heat is never fully lost.
On the other side of things, it is possible to put too little in the Cauldron. With too little, we leave a big empty space in ourselves and we feel bored, and inactive, and incomplete. This also makes our Cauldron very light and unstable, so it is easily knocked over.
The key to the Second Cauldron is Balance.
Then you will have to start caring for the Second Cauldron all over from the beginning

 The Second Cauldron is located mid-torso and encompasses the Solar Plexus, Heart, and Throat Chakra. These are the Chakra of our passion, desires, and expression of ourselves. Making these three Energies work together is difficult, but once they are all equally mixed into the Cauldron we can make anything possible. It starts with small manifestations of desires - earning your degree, getting that job you interviewed for, moving into your own apartment, etc. But once we start learning that we can make our desires reality, there will be no stopping out Second Cauldron from boiling at a healthy, warming, stable rate and it will become simply un-tippable.

Sometimes I like to imagine the Second Cauldron as containing coffee for our Spirit