Tag: villa westwyk

Touching Lives One Animal At A Time

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Saweetie.

The call of nature to those who follow the path of The Craft is strong. You may find yourself surrounded by orphaned animals, or unusual sightings of uncommon creatures. Your home may host plants that can survive no where else. It’s because these children of Gaia know that you are a healer. Witches heal the earth and the earth heals us. But sometimes we need a little help.

Recently we had this 16-year-old Australian Shepherd wander onto our property. Now, we live in a very rural area. Farmhouse after farmhouse. Farm dogs wander, but they always go home. So when they wander onto our property, we normally greet them without objection. However, it doesn’t take long for our own two dogs to exclaim annoyance with the interloper and loudly. To keep the peace, we calmly tell our farm dog visitors to go home. And they depart with no fuss.

Saweetie, as we would come to call her, kept coming back. Repeatedly. Our two dogs, Granny Shadow and Ms. SnickleFritz, were not happy with the visitor, who was calm and clearly unbothered by our smaller dogs. When she came back the third time, I noticed she was walking kind of crooked. She wasn’t aggressive or even crying. Just not looking like a dog should, even a senior one.

My Viking, aka The Dog Whisperer. He’s not pleased with the state of this dog’s health.

When she came back the third time, I called the Viking from his shop and asked for assistance. Anyone who knows my spouse knows he’s a big animal lover and very much a dog whisperer. He has mused often that he would be happy to be reincarnated as one of our dogs. What a great life they lead! Without hesitation he leaped Into action regarding Saweetie. She easily came to him and we leashed her and tried to assess if there was a collar or tags or what not. She was not in good shape. Her hair was matted badly. She was in need of a bath. Her nails hadn’t been taken care of in a long time. When we tried to give her water, we began to suspect that she couldn’t hear or see very well. And then there was the matter of looking like she might be injured because of the crooked way she was walking, which was very slowly, and her constant panting, which can indicate stress in a dog.

The only tag she had was a rabies vaccination tag. So The Viking called our local Humane Society. It was the weekend and we were thinking it might be not until Monday until our message was answered. We began to create plans to house Saweetie until we could get her help. Before we could even set up a dog house, the Whatcom County Humane Society called us back. They had received another call reporting Saweetie missing. Not too far from our home as well. She was a farm dog, like we suspected. They offered for us to take the animal back to the owners, or have the owners come to us, or they would dispatch an officer who would come out and retrieve the dog and take the animal back to its human.

We chose the third option because we felt that once the animal control officer saw the animal, some counseling to its owner would be more well received from them rather than The Viking and Some Crone Witch lecturing said alleged neglectful owners. We also had no idea if the people who have had this animal for 16+ years were some how unable to care for her appropriately. Whatever the case, if more was needed for Saweetie or her humans, the Humane Society said they would help. That sounded good to us. Within the next hour, the animal officer arrived at Villa Westwyk.

The officer arrived quickly and observed all the factors about Saweetie’s situation that we did. Such a good dog in not a great state. Next up was to return her to her licensed owners and provide some feedback to help Saweetie live out her life in a bit more comfort. This isn’t the first time we have rescued an animal and how the officer handled Saweetie showed what a good natured animal she really was. She even got to ride up in the cab with the officer because she wasn’t taking her far (less than a mile) and the dog was too injured to get into the kennels in the back. Saweetie went home and was reunited with a grateful family, which learned some valuable lessons about the needs of their lovely pet.

Saweetie got to ride in the cab because she was so old, feeble, and just an true testament to the name we gave her.

I share this story with all of you so that if you are in a situation where you want to help animals but can’t be a full-time care giver to one, then supporting an agency like your local humane society — and wow! is ours a great one — is definitely a path to helping animals on the daily. Along with our local Habitat for Humanity’s program of Homes for Hives, we will be supporting this local agency in as many ways as we can. Not just because of the good work they did this weekend at Villa Westwyk, but all over counties everywhere.

If you’ve had an interesting animal encounter lately, let me know in the comments. How did it align with your path of The Craft?

Personal Harvest Day Reflection

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This week, in the astrology of my life, I reach the end of my 9th house and arrive to my Harvest Day and then my 10th house. I am transitioning from the House of Fruition to the House of Harvest, as laid out in The Book of Houses by Robert Cole and Paul Williams. In this great guide to the harvest cycle as it applies to your personal astrology, they recommend that you pause on your Harvest Day and reflect. To look back on what the seeds you chose in the 11th house and how you manifested. Reflection is often the seed of epiphany, so it’s a good practice, and one that Witches weave into their lives constantly. The Wheel of the Year — Lunar & Solar Cycles — bring us such opportunities in monthly and quarterly and biannual cycles. But to focus solely on your astrological harvest cycle is a new thing for me, but very fertile all the same. Allow me to share in summary that reflection and its harvest.*

At the end of May 2020 we had just moved into Villa Westwyk. Our nomadic life of travel had come to a screeching halt with the persistence of a global pandemic, and we needed a place to hunker down and be safe until we figured out our next move. We came to realize fairly quickly that a nomadic life no longer appealed to us given the state of the world and it was going to be a very long road to get back to a place where a life of constant travel was copasetic. That realization coincided with my 11th house, and we knew that making a home that we didn’t need a vacation from and which was self-sustaining was our path forward. But with the addition of a mortgage payment again on top of our other responsibilities, we were going to have to get creative in how we lived. I recall doing a pretty powerful spell right around Beltane 2020 to help me find my path forward.

It was then that I imagined an online marketplace to present the magical gifts I have to offer others and the magical tools and specialty items I find so endearing. My Magical Flea Market was born. It took a bit of time to get it moving forward, living among boxes and not having anyplace to sit to eat meals and the like was quite the distraction. That seed choosing also found me desiring a Crone Crowning Ritual, which many of you were privy to via Instagram. And that status has allowed me to embrace a role as wise woman and mentor to a choice few and its been such a circle of blessing. We also made put our sailboat up for sale and are taking some time to explore our new community, including the wilderness surrounding Komo Kulshan (the big mountain we can see from our property).

It was no accident that the home we landed in has plenty of space to host friends and family, as well would allow us to return to the micro-farming and permaculture efforts that we undertook in our last sticks-and-bricks home. I quickly carved out a small space and planted greens and herbs — because it’s something we eat daily and you can continually harvest. We were blessed with bumper crops of all the berries and fruit trees that already called Villa Westwyk home and we slowly made this place spark with spirit that is inside me and my partner, lovingly dubbed The Viking. We cleared away trash, overgrown brush and weeds, and lots of negative energy that was allowed to fester whilst the former residents’ energies were elsewhere.

A year later now and the house is mostly furnished, save a few odds-and-ends, and we’re in planting mode, enlarging the kitchen garden and establishing a perennial bed and market garden. We’ve brought home a small flock of chickens and a trio of goslings. Ducks should be here in a month or so. The Magical Flea Market is building slowly and my craft has helped a many people clarify and illuminate paths, understand ancestral and divine messages, and untangle the confusion of dreams. I am comfortable in my Crone skin and status. My home is filling again with jars of dried herbs and tinctures; the larder is full of cherries, black currants, apples, peaches, pears, and all the things to make One Spooky Witch and her Handsome Devil healthy again. My studio allows me to be creative, spiritual, and meditate regularly, as well as host Solitary Shenanigans on Wednesday mornings. The dogs love being able to explore without leashes and are learning the command “take cover” since we have a healthy population of Bald Eagles in the neighborhood, not to mention coyote and fox. We are gifted with mountain views and some spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

That is quite the harvest, yes? And contemplating those blessings and the appreciation of all the hard work that went into reaping this harvest will help me decide what seeds we will choose in a a few weeks when I reach my 11th house again. I’ll be spending a good chunk of the month of May trying to figure out what seeds for my personal harvest cycle I need to choose. But for right now I’m fairly content with what I have and am feeling blessed to have found my way here to Villa Westwyk and a life that allows me such time to heal a small plot of land, as well as myself.

Where are you in the harvest cycle of your natal chart? Did you celebrate your Harvest Day? If so, how and what did you learn? If you’re celebrating your harvest day soon, take advice from Granny Shadow below and take some time to rest and reflect.

*A big shout-out to The Astrologic Lab for inviting me to learn more about myself via Astrology. If you want to learn Astrology, you need to join the Lab!

I would like to acknowledge that Villa Westwyk resides on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial. I hold the deepest respect and gratitude for our Indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.

Retreating Back To Me

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Our Waning Crescent Moon in Gemini, April 14, 2021 over Western Washington skies.

She’s back. Yep, back from vacation. But it wasn’t a vacation in the traditional sense. There was lots of work. Lots of caring going on for both family, pets, and land. In fact, I worked myself pretty hard and also dealt with the side-effects of my first Covid-19 vaccine shot. So, yeah, no fun drinks with umbrellas or poolside reading. Regardless, it was all work necessary to get me to a place where I can take a break right out my back door, if necessary.

Family emergencies due to injuries and ongoing health stuff aside, everyone is doing well and recovering for the most part. Good energies towards my loved ones are appreciated.

Speaking of appreciation, the outpouring of messages from so many both immediately after I announced my departure from the virtual world — and honestly anything outside the gates of Villa Westwyk seems virtual any longer given the Pandemic world– and the messages continued throughout the week. They were little balloons of caring and were deeply appreciated. I felt everyone’s love and respect for my need to step back for a bit. I felt your love and please know it boosted me through a couple of really dark moments this past week. So, thank you. May your love come back to you threefold. I was so nervous to step away from the momentum that all my Runa Troy work had achieved so far, and people reaching out told me my work is appreciated and valued. My heart is full.

Throughout the week I was also dealing with an avalanche of work, so much of it still needing to be tackled, to get Villa Westwyk up to snuff. There are so many projects, basically left to us by the former residents of this space. We are in the midst of correcting planting mistakes, repairing neglect to infrastructure and landscape, and creating a place of balance and health. Water issues have come to the forefront and how to harness its preciousness is also at the forefront of the work created. But with just two of us working it, mostly on the weekends, things came to a head, especially given our family responsibilities.

But this work of week to care of family and home allowed time for contemplation and understanding of purpose and paths ahead. When we first moved here I understood instinctually that my clan needed a place of retreat. That the Viking and I needed a home we didn’t need a vacation from — something that served all our needs and then some. Since entering my Crone phase, the absolute need for peace and sanctuary has been almost obsessive. Anything that disrupts that is the focus of some baneful words from this witch. I’ve been building and creating so much that I lost sight of even enjoying it. So although I was blessed with beautiful weather to accomplish these tasks, I was feeling overwhelmed and unable to be present and it was raising my stress level. Something had to give. And I knew that the whole reason I work the way I do — writer, artist, permaculturist, and public witch — is so I can do all the things that bring me joy in balance. And balance and living beholden to myself was the lesson of this week. I mean I understood it intellectually, and why I stepped away for a week — and even that time frame may have been pushing it — but to embrace it in my spirit, my heart, took a little bit of time. However, I did get there. It took me all the way until Sunday (funnily enough, a Moon in Cancer day) to really get there, but I got a couple of days of working without grumbling and talking to the earth and the bees and the birds (I have a special story about that I’ll share during my next Solitary Shenanigans), and feeling the sun and the wind on my skin and face. And that was enough. And I was enough. It was all enough. It was good. And it taught me that if I lay good foundations, the rest will follow.

If you’ve made it this far into the post: we in the same tribe! Thank you. This is your message to seek balance, peace, and sanctuary. Step away, take a break, do what you can, and know that if you are doing your best; that is enough.

Blessed Be All,

~Runa

Komo Kulshan in all her beauty during my break.
I would like to acknowledge that Villa Westwyk resides on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial. I hold the deepest respect and gratitude for our Indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.