i once had a ravenously bizarre and transformative love affair: with ravens.
they came into my life when i started using magic to call in abundance. i was working with mandrake root, making salves. the spring blooms were just starting to peak up through the snow soaked soil.
at first i was calling in more financial abundance. i had recently quit my draining non-profit job and was relying on my online business as my main source of income. for the first time i was able to pay the bills doing work i loved, being my own boss. as the weeks went on my work calling in abundance started to bleed into other areas of my life. the magic spread beyond to calling in consensual touch, bountiful harvest, opportunistic synchronicity.
and in the midst of all this spell casting our eggs started to disappear.
the ravens had been stealing our eggs for weeks before we figured it out.
when they first started disappearing we wondered if the chickens were just in a natural egg laying low. perhaps it was just the change of season. then we saw a raven flying away with an egg in its beak and we noticed them watching the chickens from above, flying overhead. we saw and heard them perched in the cedars bordering the property.
one day i watched from the farm house window as a raven jumped from a garden fence post into the chicken run, making it’s merry way into the coop. i heard the chickens caw and fly around in the coop and i watched the raven fly away, a gleaming egg in it’s beak. it cawed to let it’s friends know: there is a bounty here.
and with that call, the battle of wits had begun.
i had no idea how truly feeble i could feel until i fought ravens and lost: over and over and over again.
the thievery and genius mischief of ravens in deliciously humbling. they steal from you and they laugh. they watch and torment you. they become deeply curious about your every mundane routine.
i became so consumed with crafting strategies to keep the ravens out that i was barely able to tend to my business. the money i made dwindled. i spent less time on the computer and more time out on the land. i gave my blood to my seedlings. i drank bone broth and harvested fresh baby greens for most of my meals.
eventually we managed to fortify the run enough to keep the ravens out and the eggs in, but they still watched from the trees, laughing every time i turned my back to them. i started to call to them, echoing back their songs. i fed them the remains of animals we slaughtered for food as an offering to keep the peace. they followed me along the river whenever i went swimming. they followed me everywhere, cawing and talking to me.
ravens are remarkably intelligent animals. their grasp of language is remarkably complex. they sing to each other. they will remember you if you make an impression.
in many cultures they are seen as tricksters: wise creatures with a wicked but also benevolent sense of humour. often they are associated with death and an ability to traverse easily back and forth between the land of the living and the spirit world. they tend to have an affinity for witches. if you listen they will show you shadow parts of yourself you might otherwise choose to turn away from.
my traumatically weird and consuming love affair with raven’s came at a time when i was learning how to say no and how to let go. a shadow part of me needed to die so a more resilient and powerful version of myself could come into existence.
they were my midwives.
they were my doulas.
in those days i made enough money from my business to keep my life and our farm afloat but i was working more than full time for less than minimum wage.
it wasn’t just my business that was draining me: it was almost all my relationships.
i was saying yes when i wanted to say no.
i was accumulating debt instead of paying it off: not just financially but also spiritually and energetically.
i was giving away more than i was receiving back.
my profit margin was small. i was proud of my products but i was also tired and tied to one place. i said yes to almost every offer i was given to promote my work: including people and places that really didn’t make sense for my heavily niched audience. i didn’t listen to my intuition. i didn’t heed the ebb and flow of the yes’s and no’s that echoed from my body.
the ravens taught me how to make boundaries: how to literally set up structures that allowed me to firmly and clearly say ‘no’. they showed me that i could call in all the abundance i wanted, but all that manifestation would not matter if i did not know how to keep it and direct enough of it towards myself that i could truly heal and be nourished.
they taught me how to laugh at my own suffering, which i realize now is an important part of learning how to grieve. they taught me how to not take myself so seriously. ravens taught me how to let myself die just enough to birth something new.
they taught me to how focus my efforts in concrete and centered ways. how to manifest what i craved while having boundaries to create space between me and what no longer serves me.
now, in so many ways, i’ve learned how to say no more clearly and more often, not only with my business but also in all my relationships. i’ve learned to set boundaries that have transformed my shadows and my trauma into powerful protection magic. magic that creates greater abundance, acceptance and humour in my life.
i make more money doing less work.
my relationships fuel me instead of draining me.
i trust myself to say no.
i trust that what i manifest will nourish me, and in turn i am able to more deeply nourish others, when i choose to, if i choose to.
in the words of brene brown when she spoke about the impacts boundaries have had on her life: “i’m not as nice, but i am more kind”.
i believe it’s possible for everyone, especially witches engaged in shadow work, to create this kind of transformation in our lives. i believe we all can learn the lessons the raven’s taught me about saying no and taking care of ourselves.
i share these lessons in my online course hawthorn heart: protection magic and boundary skills for fierce femme witches and healers.
another round starts on july 22nd 2017 - and if you missed this round don’t fear, another round will be offered soon. there’s bipoc scholarships and payment plans available to help signing up be affordable and easy.
if you feel called to the magical art of learning to say no with potency, grace and power, then i encourage you to sign up for hawthorn heart.