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DANCING WITH COYOTE

God/dess grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
The Serenity Prayer

Perhaps Kevin Costner was partnered with the wrong canine in the famous movie, "Dances with Wolves". Since one of the themes of the film was growth through unexpected change, maybe he was actually dancing with Coyote.

Coyote is one of the Trickster spirits of Native stories. He causes trouble, gets into it himself, breaks all the rules, and brings about change. Usually unwanted change, which is later revealed to have been for the best. How often have you been partnered with Coyote in the Dance of Life? Maybe we should learn to dance in such a way that he doesn't step on our toes.

It's one of the sad truths of growing up that things don't always go our way. To move to another movie, "Labyrinth", life isn't always fair, but that's the way it is. And accepting that is one of the first steps to learning to accept unwanted change. We have to learn that we, no matter how special we are, aren't exempt from that rule. The gods will teach us what we need to know. If we weren't willing to accept their teachings, we wouldn't have gotten on this spiritual growth path in the first place. If you weren't willing to accept their teachings, you, kind reader, wouldn't be reading this.

The trick is learning to see the long view. So often, if we examine our pasts, we'll see that an abrupt, traumatic change was actually a growth experience, something that was necessary to put us where we are now. Or a teaching experience for those with whom we interacted during our time of duress.

A friend of mine recently underwent a severe health challenge. So many people asked what she had to learn from this. I couldn't help but ask what she had to teach. Perhaps the lesson wasn't hers at all, but was instead for the health care providers whose lives she touched. Maybe her experience changed the way things will be done for later patients. That would be a Coyote way of doing things.

Another recent Coyote encounter, albeit an insignificant one, occurred when some friends and I attempted to order pizza. The first place we called told us the delivery time would be over an hour. We tried another place and, not only could they get our food to us in forty-five minutes or less, we actually got a buy one, get one free deal. Coyote strikes again!

And this is his standard modus operandi. It looks horrific, but turns out to be for the best. (Okay, so slow pizza isn't horrific, but you get the point.)

Let's talk about change, now. It's so easy to accept the way things are, even if they're not great, because we don't know any other way to be, and the unknown is frightening. Always has been, always will be. That won't change. What we can change is our attitude toward it. Think about the first time you ate a new food. Say calamari, for example. You're thinking "Squid. Yuk!" But everyone is watching, and you're no wimp, so down it goes. And it isn't yukky! That can be the way with so many things.

Yes, change can hurt, but not always, so take a deep breath and take the chance. Or relax into the new, unexpected situation. Who knows, you may grow to love the city you're in.

And if the change does hurt? That's when you use your magical connections and call on the gods and goddesses for aid in changing the situation, or at least in getting a look at the celestial lesson plan, so you'll know what's going on and what you, or whoever is the student, is supposed to learn. They can and will also help you make it through the situation with courage and grace.

Everybody has the strength and courage to make it through the lessons we've signed on to learn in this life. After all, we don't learn them by dropping the course, also known as dying. So put on your dancing shoes, take a peek at the evening's program and show that Coyote how to boogie!

SPELL FOR TRANQUILITY OF MIND-Serenity to accept

On a waning moon, anoint a blue candle with Tranquility oil, rubbing from the wick to the base as you say,

"Peace in my heart, peace in my mind,
toil and turmoil I leave behind.
I accept that I came here to grow,
and so life's struggle I must know.
But I won't be afraid, not this time.
This mental anguish I leave behind."

Light the candle and sit, watching its flame. Breathe in, bringing in the peaceful color of the candle and the calming scent of the oil. Breathe out, letting the exhalation take your fear and anger with it.

Spend at least thirty minutes at this, and repeat as necessary.

SPELL FOR STRENGTH

On a waxing moon, anoint an orange candle with Mars oil, rubbing from the wick to the base. State firmly, "I see the needed change. I will effect it now." Repeat this three times.

Meditate on the candle for a few minutes, then write down the steps needed to make the change. Also formulate a backup plan. When your plan is done and you have anticipated and accounted for all the variables, spend a few more minutes meditating on the candle, then walk away and don't worry any more.

When it's time to take the action, put Mars oil on the palms of your hands and over your heart and do it.

SPELL FOR WISDOM

This is best done on two nights, the first phase on the full moon, the second on the dark moon, which will occur two weeks later. This allows for the visible knowledge of the full moon, and the hidden, dark moon facts to become evident.

On the full moon, anoint a white candle with Frankincense oil, working from wick to base. Facing east, extend your hands as if asking for something to be put into them. Say, "Gods and goddesses of the east, I ask for your assistance." Turn to the south and repeat, petitioning the gods and goddesses of the south. Next is west, then north. Now turn to the east again, and entreat over your head, asking for the aid of the gods and goddesses above. Petition likewise the gods and goddesses below, and of the center. Do this with your hands held just above your waist, at your chest.

Put the situation to the gathered powers, and ask for their wisdom in seeing what's behind the situation, what you can do about it, and what the outcome would be of any action you could and would take. Ask them to show you what action is needed, and to do so clearly and in a form you can understand. Remember, Coyote's listening, too!

Meditate for a few minutes, letting any image that wants to enter your mind do so. Examine and analyze any image you get. Give this at least thirty minutes before closing the ceremony.

To close the ceremony, fold your hands in the traditional attitude of prayer and, bowing first to the east, then the other directions in the order in which they were invoked, thank the gods and goddesses of each direction for their assistance.

It's also considered polite to give them something, too. Common gifts are milk or wine and cookies. If you're working in the United States, smudging with sage is a good idea.

The second phase is just like the first, but done on a dark moon with a black candle. Frankincense is again used, but the candle is anointed from base to wick in this phase.

Repeat the invocation, petition, and thanks as before, allowing time for any immediate messages to come to you after you ask. Pay attention to your dreams and any unusual experiences for at least twenty-eight days after this. The random mutterings of the street person on the corner could actually be your answer. Wouldn't that be Coyote?

I hope you dance!