Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Joyous Birth

I know I have posted my blog as a weekly post, however I have been joyously distracted by the birth of my grand- daughter Annabel. I was present during her delivery and with my son-in -law helped my daughter through her labor. Though I had been through this some thirty years ago, I didn't get to experience the miracle of the event in quite the same way. I was astounded at what I experienced as coach and grandma. As I held her for the first time she opened her little eyes and seemed to look right into the depths of my soul as I softly sang to her. I have been visiting to help mommy and baby with their new routine as most grandmothers would do ( without being too intrusive) and yet I have a big responsibility ahead of me for which I take very seriously. My daughter asked that I become Annabel's spiritual guide. This is a great honor, as my family does not share my Wiccan beliefs, and although my family is spiritual oriented in many different denominations, I was chosen because I have actively studied the tenets of many of the world religions and have learned to be tolerant. I will share the positive aspects of many of these religions including my own... in a way that a child could understand. My hope is that she grows to find her own spiritual path and in that I will support her unconditionally. I pray to my God and Goddess to help me in this high honor and hope to share the beauty of the Divine so my precious Annabel will find her own spiritual way in a world that I feel will eventually seek unity. Brightest blessings!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Becoming a Witch

I'm sure there are witches out there who have been born into families who celebrate a rich tradition of ancient belief and follow occult practices handed down from generations. That may indeed be a beautiful thing depending on your perspective. For the rest of us who have come to embrace a way of life, or a spiritual path, the title of our belief system may have come from years of research, soul searching, and practice. I write poetry on an international Wiccan site and I although I have many readers from around the world I am never asked questions regarding the meaning of my poetry, or the inspiration behind it. That suits me fine, for I am of the belief that good poetry affects each reader differently and there should be a deliberate separation of the poet and the poetry. I would not try to explain what I meant, as the meanings are often hidden in the color of language. The usual question I am asked by readers is "Are you a real witch, and how can I become one too?" A six year old child once said to me, "You are what you think you are." I thought the words precociously profound and with all I have experienced in my life I would have to agree. I do not have a witch certificate, although I am sure you can join a school of thought and get one for a fee. I have no interest in that. I have studied every book I could read on the subject of the occult early in my life and seemed to gravitate to those specializing in Witchcraft or Wicca. I can tell many of those who pose the question are young, and so I try to be sensitive to their curiosity without too much interest or commitment. Ultimately, there is also the expressed desire to perform spells, which to young people of the Harry Potter generation must seem very enticing indeed. My standard answer to someone seeking to learn spells is to read a short book by Carl McColman called "Before You Cast a Spell." It is a how-to that does not give specific recipes, only underlying principles. It probably wouldn't be completed by someone who just wanted to catch a love interest or win a huge sum of money... they would probably just get bored. In response to the question, " How do I get started to be a witch?" I will refer the young seeker to Scott Cunningham's, "Wicca, A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner." I feel he has a very caring style of presenting the occult and encourages the practitioner to follow their own path to discern what feels right and what doesn't. Although I have read literally hundreds of books and articles on the subject, I have used my own intuition to determine what I embrace as sounding truthful and what I discard as... well chaff. I have a responsibility to be my own Guru, and that's why my practice is so successful for me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Turkey Buzzards and Sun Dogs

Yesterday I went for my usual walk around the block, but it was anything but usual. Normally I set out in a quick stride and notice the seasonal changes of Nature in a quick pace that gives me some exercise. Ok, so far everything is usual. Instead of letting my mind wander to the normal chatter of what I could be doing or what I should be thinking , I shut that yap of the mind and just walked and breathed and looked to the sky for nothing but the beauty of a warm November day, grateful for the sun and the mild temperature... no coat needed. First I noticed a swarm of birds circling the the sky in the distance. Could they be a flock of my beloved turkey buzzards?... why yes, a swarm of about 20 were swooping and lowering and to my amusement they were suddenly circling me. I waved to them and yelled "hello friends!" It was 2:00 in the afternoon and there are no neighbors watching... they are all at work, so I felt perfectly content to wave and clap at this rare performance. The "crowd" dispersed and the three usual "friends" that appear to glide in the currents when I take my walk, hung around a bit and dipped low in the sky as if to wave. I felt elated. Then, as I turned the corner of the long street at the end of my block and walked into the west, I spied the brilliant sun fairly low in the sky and it was flanked by two beautiful "sun dogs." These are like little round rainbows that appear upon clouds and they were perfectly aligned on either side of the sun. I was mesmerized as I walked, and knew that it was a a wondrous display that I would have missed if I was deep in thought and looking down at the pavement. Somehow I felt hopeful that this walk with my head in the clouds was a gift... a splendor of the wonder that is waiting when the mind can shut off, the eyes open wide, and one is just thankful for the gift of sight.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Celebrating October 31

Each Year as October 31 approaches, I get really excited... almost like a kid before Halloween. It's my favorite holiday and I celebrate it with my husband (and bunny rabbit) as Samhain (pronounced sow' en). This is the eighth spoke of the wheel on the Wiccan Calendar and the last of the harvest rituals. It is a joyous time for celebration much like New Year's Eve and yet it is also a time to be thankful in remembrance of ancestors. Usually the colors of autumn are beginning to wind down and the nights are colder. The day before my holiday I usually do a thorough housecleaning and a blessing in each room with a spritz of salted water. I also finish the cleaning of bathroom floors and kitchen counters with a damp rag and witch hazel (only because I love the smell). Then it's out to the store to buy the fresh ingredients for my harvest dinner. Although I am not a vegetarian, I love fresh vegetables and they are always present at my holiday dinners. The pumpkin will be carved into a face that always seem to look like my beloved Grandpa McCoy. Then my seeds will be soaked in salted water, dried, and baked into a tasty treat. The table will be set with extra plates for relatives who have crossed over and happy celtic music or solemn baroque will be playing (depending on my mood). Of course there will always be the interruption of the trick or treaters who come to my door for candy, but this is a welcome treat as I remember the joy I once had "begging for candy." There will be a candlelight dinner and a toast of remembrance, as well as poetry readings and ceremony. The night will end with a bonfire (weather permitting) or a retreat to my candlelit "meditation room."
This year, however, my usual plans needed altering. My step daughter's wedding took place on mischief night and on Samhain, there was a big family gathering of out of town relatives meeting for dinner. Since I don't advertise my spiritual affiliation, my usual rituals were out the window. It didn't really matter... one must be flexible, and after all, a wedding only comes once a lifetime... at least that's the way it's hoped to be. The whole family shared wonderful stories of the previous night's event and shared a sumptuous meal that was prepared by the chef in the family. There was laughter and merriment well into the night. It was more like a New Year's Eve party than a Halloween Party... and yet with a wink to the flickering jack-o-lantern, I kept the sentiment to myself.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Healing Crystal Meditation

Life has many stressors, some are positive and can move us to challenge ourselves and become productive. Other stressors may become tangled up with negative energies that often cloud the big picture and leave us feeling angry, frustrated, or doubtful. These are the toxic stressors that are often ignored, but give a feeling that make us feel ill at ease. Once recognized, direct confrontation with these feelings needs to be dealt or they multiply, become overwhelming, and throw the body into a state of dis-ease. One of the ways I deal with this phenomenon is to practice a full body meditation with my healing crystal. This is a crystal that I found, and in order to boost it's healing power it was consecrated. First, I lovingly washed it with my personal beauty soap, rinsed it, and towel dried it. Then I set in on a windowsill in the direct light of the full sun. To consecrate it I hold it in my right hand and extent the left palm open to the universe. I ask for the positive energies of the universe to fill it with my intent for healing clarity. Then I will place in the direct light of a full moon to complete the consecration. Whenever I feel that negative stress or situations occur that need to be confronted or released, I will fill a bathtub with warm water and salt and then slip in my crystal. Sometimes I will also add fragrance in the form of those inexpensive shampoos that are more economical than high end bath products, as the bubbles seem to last longer (also when you immerse your head under the water to meditate, you get an instant shampooing). I think long and hard of the situation that is causing the unrest and draw my full attention to every detail as I sort through the attached emotions associated with it. Once that is accomplished I will ask the crystal to help me see clearly on what I must do in order to heal. Sometimes the situation is not in my control and I must just let it go down the drain. Other times, a plan of action or a new way of looking at the issue will pop in my head and in my mind's eye I will take it to a positive conclusion. After rinsing myself and the crystal off, I take a deep cleansing breath. At that point I will follow my inner guidance to either take appropriate action, or put the issue to rest. The crystal is then put to it's resting place on my sunlit altar. It is one of my most important tools for healing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cartoon Stereotypes

The other day I caught a few minutes of the cartoon the Simpsons. It was a Halloween episode and while I'm not the biggest fan, my husband is. In this episode, Lisa (who is the show's voice of reason and open-mindedness) is dressed in a witch costume. Her mom exclaims, "Oh Lisa you're a witch" to which Lisa replies... I'm Wiccan... why does a strong confident woman get labelled (or something to that effect). While I was happy for the sensitivity of the creators for making a statement, there was still a hint of negativity associated with the term "witch." My earliest recollection of a witch was a cartoon I enjoyed as a five year old. It was Casper the Friendly Ghost and his companion Wendy the Good Witch. Remembering back to my five year old mind, the characters seemed as very real to me. I loved both of them, even though it seemed the world conspired against them. I was painfully shy at the time and they seemed like good friends to have. Then came the barrage of negative stereotypes for witches brought to us by Disney. Some were attractive, some ugly, but all had their element of evil. I thought it was cool that they could use spells and make potions and I remember thinking, if they can do magic why wouldn't they use it for good? As I grew older, I realized that appearances are not good indicators of character and old prejudices die hard. I began studying the occult in high school and at the time, the only books on witchcraft that I could find also contained spells that seemed rather spiteful and mean-spirited. I knew that I had some special talents, that were outside the belief of most people and so I kept them to myself. But as I got older, books found me and I became intrigued that other people also had these "gifts" and some were as kind and gentle as I felt myself to be. I am comfortable now with my status as a Witch... more so than Wiccan which I consider a religion. I am a strong confident woman who enjoys myself and my unique gifts and for that I would not make apologies. I might, however, refrain from advertising my status, as the word "witch" is still frightful to some people. Tolerance seems to be moving in the right direction, and I only wish Disney could redress the stereotypes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Matter of Healing

Years of working as a nurse in hospitals, nursing homes and the community has given me rare insights into human behavior, especially as it relates to the unwell population. As I went about the tasks of taking vital signs, damp dusting a room, or just sitting on the edge of a bed holding a hand and teaching a patient what to expect during and after surgery a mini friendship was formed. After the necessary assessment based questions, there was always the open ended "how are you feeling?" Then I would just listen, as some of the most intimate worries and fears were spilled out. I offered no answers or solutions, just an interested pair of ears and eyes of empathy. I truly enjoyed my work back then. Then nursing became high tech, and it was hard to concentrate on listening when there were so many medications to be given, procedures to be performed and a timetable that barely afforded the completion of assembly line tasks. There was no time for that one on one interpersonal relationship. I tried to reestablish that special relationship with patients when I travelled to people's homes as a community health nurse, however that meant I was doing the exorbitant about of paperwork on my own family time and that wasn't really fair. Once a professional trust was established, many patient's would want to pour out their hearts about what was really wrong with their lives... frustrations, disappointments, bad relationships, or a host of other mental and spiritual anguishes. I found out first hand that illness is not just a random physical disorder, but one that involves a host of factors that fester below the surface until they manifest as disease. While I would always encourage a person to seek medical attention in the way they feel most comfortable, I think there is a means of healing that goes beyond covering symptoms and treating disease. The symptoms let you know something isn't right, and disease signals that something must be changed. One of the ways to get to the heart of the matter is through sharing thoughts. Think of a kindly stranger asking you, How is your life going? what would you say? I'm often amazed as some of the things I will say when I get on a verbal role with someone who has no reason to judge me at all. The key is to listen sometimes to your own conversation to see what is really going on inside. I believe we all the the capacity to heal ourselves, but it will occur a lot sooner if there was a network of healers who aren't afraid to reach out and touch someone with kindness, listen with empathy, and allow the light from the windows of the soul to shine compassion into the lives of others. Sometimes it can begin with a simple smile.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Practicing Tolerance

It was a beautiful autumn day with a hint of chill in the air, and I had just slipped into my multicolored bathrobe after a quiet meditation in the luxury of a warm bath. There was a loud knocking at the door and I wondered who would be calling mid-morn... probably just a delivery person or a meter reader, as my friends don't make morning house calls. As I opened the door, the chill rushed in and there were two women, one old, one young, and both obviously related. With a forced smile, the young woman challenged me with a question, "Ma'am were here to ask you what does it mean to find happiness in a family?" An internal groan... as I saw the small weatherworn bible she clutched in her hands. "Well, I said, as respectfully as I could, " I usually don't share such intimate conversation with perfect strangers, why do you ask?" "They nervously glanced at each other, and the older woman spoke up." We're not here to sell anything, but while we were in the neighborhood, we wanted to help acquaint you with the good news of family values..." I took a deep breath, as I have heard these pronouncements before and politely asked if "the good news" had anything to do with the bible? The young woman brightened and then asked what religion I was. "Well, I'm not a christian but then again, I usually don't share my beliefs with strangers." The older woman now eyed me with suspicion, and added, we really only want to ask your opinion about family... and then quoted something from "the book." In my head, I thought of the horror I would probably encounter if I told these women my true beliefs and yet, there was no need to make this anything more than a pleasant exchange. Instead, I offered to peruse the literature I knew they had brought along in those large pocketbooks, saying that I am interested in other people's perspectives, even if I may not agree. Gladly they pulled out the familiar Watchtower pamphlets and handed them over, the young one stating, "I'm sure you don't want to catch a chill, as I see you just washed your hair." "Thank you," I said, "I hope you have a delightful walk on this glorious day." The older woman grimaced and replied, "Oh, it's awfully cold out here," and with that they both turned and walked away. I spent a few minutes looking over the materials that seemed a bit outdated, the words extolling both the secrets of happiness and the horrors of Satan, replete with italicized quotes from that old black book. "Yes, it must be very cold for you out there," I thought as I gently guided the literature into the trash.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Witches Perspective: Dispelling the Myth

As a practicing solitary witch who is celebrating my ten year anniversary of initiation, I hope to shed light on the path I have chosen so others may come to have a new perspective on this unique way of life. It a way of life that has been misunderstood and maligned through unfair depictions and images. The word witch itself usually conjures up the vision of an ugly old hag in a black pointed hat who rides the night winds on a broom and wreaks havoc on the lives of innocents. Nothing could be farther from the truth about this craft of mine, that needs no pronouncements to anyone, including some of my family members. This way of life, which I do not consider a religion, involves trusting one's intuition, revering nature, gaining insight through reading, and gaining wisdom from experiencing life with all it's mysteries and intrigue. For me, one of the most important tenets is the complete acceptance of responsibility for the outcomes of my life. "And it harm none, do as you will" is the one simple rule.

It is a life filled with curiosity, wonder, and ritual, and in my case going within oneself to find the highest calling and then putting the dreams of the heart's desire into action. At times it is a lonely path, as unlike organized religion there is no shared dogma, initiation rites, or the us-versus-them mentality that has crept into many religious institutions. I have an acceptance that the universe is a beautifully designed field of energy, of which everything and everyone is a connected part evolving in a dance of change. The concept is so vast in its magnitude that I can only refer to as the Source, but I believe it to be divine. As a human being though, I often have a need to reason out my existence, and since we live in a world that operates in a dualistic realm of ... good/bad, male/female, right/left... as a witch I choose to consort with and give thanks to a host of archetypes both male and female whose qualities I can understand and admire. I envision my cosmic parents as God and Goddess in equal measure, which is why religions don't work for me. Though I ask for help and guidance at times, I know the the full responsibility for how I live my life ultimately falls on my own shoulders, and in making important decisions, I rely on my inner self that I have come to experience through quiet reflection and meditation.

I don't believe in a black and white world, and I function best in a continuum of gray as the variation of belief that I feel begs for understanding. I strive to understand how our collective world operates, yet I am not quick to judge what I don't understand. As a proponent of personal freedom it would be hypocritical to think that my way of being in the world is the only way to be in the world and I enjoy the viewpoints of other's, even if I don't agree with them. Although I follow my own path in life, I don't live in a cloistered, shadowy world of self absorption, as some might think. I mingle and share in the lives and paths of others, and many of my friends don't even know I am a practicing witch. The title alone doesn't define all of who I am, but I know as a witch my mission is to enlighten other like minded souls on my alternate belief system, heal myself and others with words and actions, and share my talents, which include writing poetry and digitally photographing nature.

Sometimes I am asked for advice on spells and though I do perform them in ritual, I am reluctant to give any advice on this topic, as a spell uses one's will or intention to produce an outcome, and if we are truly unique as humans, then no other person's words or actions can produce the positive results that would benefit our own personal lives... it would be too easy, and life was not designed to be easy. If it was, why would we need a brain capable of complex problem solving capabilities? Also there are two cautions in using one's intent to gain something desired. What goes around comes around is alive and well, so if you use your power to inflict harm on someone else, the consequences will harm you triple fold. As a witch I know this, and so it makes me chuckle when someone asks, "Are you a good witch?" Is there anyway else to be, knowing the consequences? The second caution is that what we think we might really want, may come with unexpected burdens and obligations. Personally, I would never do a spell for a million dollars, as I know the potential problems and temptations that could occur when money is gained without actually earning it. You might get a million dollars for a disfiguring accident, or it could bring out the worst greed in family members and make your life a misery. Be careful what you ask for, you might get it, is a sound adage when it comes to spells and so I don't perform them injudiciously.

When it comes to living and experimenting with my life, I hold no personal recriminations for honest mistakes made, it is part of being human. Rather, as I reflect on those areas that have not brought the love, joy, or peace desired, I choose to make changes and sweep away the clutter of dried patterns that would obscure my path. As the seasons change, so do goals and aspirations... and often I celebrate these changes through personal rituals during the sabbats (holiday celebrations) and esbats (moon celebrations) that are celebrated by a vast majority of other witches. I also celebrate traditional holidays with my family, as my grown children were not raised with my current world view and have their own ideas regarding spirituality. Though I may share confidently some perspectives of my craft, I don't seek to entice anyone to share my path, nor do I seek to challenge anyone away from their own. My way is the only right way for me, and my perspectives add to one solitary viewpoint in a vast world of energy that I believe is meant to celebrate our uniqueness, while making us feel more connected with the Source, of which we are all a part of.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mabon.... a meeting of Light and Dark

Mabon arrived on time in the Northern Hemisphere at 5:22 pm and as the second harvest celebration of the seasonal wheel, it celebrates the meeting of day and night on equal terms. I chose to celebrate on Saturday night where a feast was prepared by my husband using vegetables of the season's harvest, a stew that included potatoes, turnips, and fennel. I made a salad of apples, celery, and walnuts... and there were black and white cookies which we shared as we gazed at our nightly bonfire and sipped small glasses of whiskey mead. There was poetry to write and as day and night are equal, it was a good holiday to reflect on the dark and light that resides within. As a solitary witch, it is important to bravely face the darkness which creeps into our minds, and spills into our lives. So many people do not face up to the darkness, which could be defined in many different ways depending on who is doing the assessment. The question one needs to ask is, what resides in those hidden recesses that keep us from feeling joyful, peaceful, and contented? What are we hiding within that is throwing our lightness or lightheartedness out of sync. It is a tough thing to look at oneself honestly and then make adjustments, but as we clean house of unwanted dust and clutter, we should be doing the same with our minds. As humans we often strive for perfection, and it is easy to fall into the trap of setting one's mind on a rigid acceptance of right and wrong, never questioning or deviating from the ideal vision of ourselves. But to be in balance there needs to be acceptance of the darkness, so we can learn from it. As the wheel of life turns upon the change of seasons, we must face the changes that occur in our own lives. That is not to say we should sweep what we don't like into a corner or under a rug, but those attributes or thoughts that have not served us well need direct attention, for you cannot really change what you will not face and understand. It is an ongoing process and the change of seasons is a good time to get focused.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Color Meditation

One of the practices of my way to the path is the simple act of going within and experiencing the silence of stillness. Most of the day our thoughts are flowing like mindless chatter that colors our emotions and can often raise to a frenzied pitch of confusion, worry, and doubt. There are many ways to avoid this silent and incessant chatter, some people use mindless TV, some use alcohol (which often tends to exacerbate the noise) or what I have found to be the best way, meditation. One of my favorite forms of meditation is what I refer to as my color meditation. First, I gently rub the roundness of my closed eyeballs, which serves to to stimulate the retina to accept its purpose of seeing with eyes closed. Then, I simply sit cross legged in a sunlit room, relax my shoulders, and watch the blank screen of color appear and change before my shut eyelids. At first there is a muddled darkness that soon becomes awash with a vivid shade of orange that softens and fades to golden and yellow. At the tiniest squint of the eyes, or the change of the sunbeam location, suddenly other colors come into play: deep purples, crimson, bright teal, or perhaps a brilliant green. At times of great peace suddenly I will "see" a brilliant white, which seems to be the shade of the Inner Self. During this phase if I get a mental message, I usually pay attention as the message is always gentle and loving and the peace associated with it is profound. Most often though, the meditations feels like looking at one's own auric colors parading by, one by one before the closed eyes. Sometimes the colors change and morph into muted shades that melt slowly into one another. During this meditation the focus is only on the screen of changing colors and the wash of peace that occurs when the mind is silenced by the attention to a blank screen. The restless mind will indeed have trouble chattering during the silent interchange of your own sacred color wheel. The restorative peace that ensues will make the rest of your day just a little bit brighter.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

For the Love of Nature

One of the tenets of being a good witch (and if you know The Threefold Law, how could you be otherwise?) is a reverent love of Mother Nature and respect for her creations. Everything that groweth or creepeth has a divine connection to all of us on this planet. I might be a little skeeved out by earthworms, but I would never harm one and intellectually I am in awe of how much work the little critters do to make sure the soil is aerated and nourished so that we may reap the benefits. Perhaps you may feel the same way about spiders, knowing that they trap and eat some our peskier pests like mosquitos. Either way, a witch knows that there is a delicate balance at work from the loom of Mother Nature and like children, if we obey simple laws we are less likely to be punished by her fury. Sometimes humans act as if they are the only creatures on the planet who matter, when in fact, if you added up all the living creatures, we are a tiny minority in comparison. The effects of global warming are wreaking havoc with our weather, which in turn causes destruction of our environment. Many good people of tackling the problem on global and national levels, however each one of us can contribute some small act that decreases gas emissions if we just try a little bit. For instance, do you really need to drive your call to the local convenience store when perhaps the 10 or 20 minute walk would probably be more beneficial for you and the environment? Something happens when you begin walking frequently and actually noticing nature. There is a calling, a feeling of being at home, feeling loved, accepted, and safe. It is Mother Nature sending her love as she lavishes you with visuals of remarkable colors and textures wherever you look. I can't speak for most witches, but I suspect I am not alone in this feeling, and I know I am not alone in wanting to take the extra step to help protect our wonderful planet. It should be as easy as taking a walk.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Whisper of the Dragon Fly

It all happened in an instant, a sunny summer's day like today, far from home in an overgrown field near a stream, a path to somewhere leading to woods. There were wildflowers as tall as myself, and no sounds except for the hiss-clapping of locusts in the distance. I was far away and alone... but certainly not lost or afraid. A silver bodied bug with pretty blue wings landed on me and whispered me a dream, a reason, a secret. I understood the gentle voice that hummed, although not a word was spoken. I knew I mattered and was important... and here for a reason. It's many, many years since that first encounter, and yet when I'm alone in Nature without a soul around, I'm still that young child holding on to the secret that was only meant for me... on a path that never turned back.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lughnasa ... a sigh of relief

Last Saturday me and the hubster planned our little pagan ceremony of the August harvest with a fine meal that included Jersey grown tomatoes, and corn, and fresh tuna steaks... as a reminder of the ocean we both love. I especially looked forward to the bonfire as a traditional part of the ancient celebration. My son showed up in need of some family time and although he is not normally comfortable with my witchy ways, in a change of heart he listened to my story of the god Lugh and his step mother Taltiu for who the celebration was devoted to. She died while helping to clear the land in Ireland so Lugh's people could plant crops and increase their ability to farm the land. We shared a whiskey mead while the flames danced in the warm night air, and exchanged our unique views on being in the world. We talked, my son and me... we found common ground to agree and disagree in our connected but separate world views. When the night came to a subtle ending as the moon rose over the trees in the night sky, my son echoed a sentiment so dear to my heart that I must share it, he simply said, "The greatest evil is a singular truth... we are just.... I never felt so proud to be a mother in... I don't remember when.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sex as Religion

I was never a fan of the word religion as it conjures up images of patriarchal practices and silly costumes... and outmoded dogmas recited by rote. However taken as one definition " the ritual observance of faith", I would have to say that pretty much sums up my beliefs about the sacred act of sexual communion. In my way, there is celebration of both the male and female spirit, as god and goddess from whom we seek advice, give thanks, and explore the depths of the human condition. I can understand both powers at work in different ways that adds to the great spirit of the All (which is such a mind boggling concept that there are no suitable words to talk about it). Sex is such a powerful spiritual celebration when enjoyed to the fullest, and it is my belief that it will bring you closer to the Divine than any other religious ceremony... especially those that condemn the act itself. Why do many of the major religions put such harsh rules on such a joyous and natural gift from the gods and goddesses? It is all a matter of power... they want to sell you your salvation... if we were all solitary practitioners think of the lost revenue. It is no coincidence that the word intercourse can mean coitus or it can also mean an interchange of thoughts or feelings. Here is key that turns the whole experience from a physical pleasure to a sacred celebration... the communion (intimate communication) that occurs before, during , and after sex. In my brand of religion there are no rules or boundaries here... except one, "as it harm none  do as you will." There is great solitary sex to be had, and great sharing sex to be had and the frequent rituals of both is one way to become closer to the ecstasy of the Divine thing that cannot be talked about. Try to think of anything that comes close to that wave of electrical excitement and then convince me that dogmatic rules should be placed on such a natural expression of human truth... and I'll tell you your dogma is barking up the wrong tree.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tools of the Craft

One of the things that I most enjoy about the my practice of the Craft, is the ritual associated with honoring the god and goddess who watch over and guide my way. Books are probably my most important tool, as through them I gain insight from others that I might have missed on my own. The important tenets of the pentagram for which I use as a symbol of my faith evoke the five elements of earth, water, air, fire and spirit at the very top. In the rituals I may use sand as earth, tap water, an athame (or small dagger) to waft air, candles as fire and my sincere intent to welcome Spirit that incorporates both male and female deities within my circle of celebration. Many people wrongly equate the symbol of the pentagram with evil intent, including some members of my family who see my tools displayed in my private sanctuary. Just as it was in olden times, people are frightened of things they don't understand and my Craft or way of celebrating my way in the world is mysterious. While I don't spend too much time worrying what others think (everyone is free to form their own opinion) sometimes just a simple explanation of the tools and symbols is enough to alleviate fear. The question I usually pose when confronted with the question of evil intent, is to ask the question, " You know my person, do I seem like an evil person to you?" My family would be hard pressed to answer that in the affirmative, and so they have come to accept my private celebrations. After all the reason I am a solitare is to be at home and alone with Spirit in a way that is befitting to me. It is a highly personal matter and in this way, I don't need the recognition of recruits to know I am on the right path for me. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Divination is a process of gaining insight into one's life through the ritualistic use of tools. Two of  the methods that are dear to my heart are Tarot card readings and Rune Casting. Many people are afraid of these tools, as they have had a dark shadow cast over them from religions that seem to prevent people from finding divinity within themselves through exploration. Some of the symbols on the Tarot cards look intimidating and yet they are not always what they seem. The dreaded Death card for instance, does not necessarily relate to a physical death... it could easily apply to a death of an old habit, or an end to a way of thinking. I continue to study the Tarot as it is complex and rich in the telling of the spiritual journey that we all as humans face. Each day I choose a card and then record it's meaning as I watch how the interpretations unfold. Sometimes when I choose a card, it will give me an insight into a problem that lingers below the realm of my current attention. In either case there is self reflection and study, something that is dear to the solitary witch who doesn't accept anyone else's interpretation of what a spiritual life should be. Rune casting involves the choosing of stones that are marked with a Nordic alphabet. Each one represents an insight into the understanding of the progress of the spiritual pursuit of the chooser. I usually choose three stones that represent the past, present, and future. In this way I have a big picture view of where I am vs. where I need to be. I hope it is clear that in using these tools, there is a personal responsibility to think and study and intuit. A solitary witch knows that she/he is the best judge of interpretation, as your own inner guide who is already divine will help the human of you through life's journey. The divination tools hone your ability to see deeper into the spiritual quest and intuit the best possible direction for self understanding. There is nothing evil or scary here... unless you find those qualities within yourself. Then it signals a gentle reason for change.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Full Moon Esbat

I love celebratory rituals and so I worship the Goddess at the height of the full moon. Esbat is a word to describe this observance. It is a simple but heartfelt ceremony where I rise from my bed at midnight, and weather permitting go outside with bare feet to gaze and reflect on the brightness of the moon's light. I then return indoors to my "meditation room," where I will don my black cape, light candles and with the tools of my craft, will open a sacred circle of energy.

Through the open window I will thank the Goddess for her guidance and protection in my life and then recite "The Charge of the Goddess" by Dorothy Valiente. Then before an old family mirror I will reflect on the goddess within myself  and in doing so will see with the mind's eye what needs changing and what is working in my life. There is always a measure of balance in this meditation. I may recite personal poems to the Goddess or sometimes I will recite from the lovely "Celtic Devotional" of Caitlin Matthews or the "Prayer of Dedication" from Michelle Morgan. 

Usually at least twice a year, I will celebrate the esbat by "Bringing Down the Moon." This is a powerful rite where you quite literally infuse yourself with the light of the moon. A bowl of water is placed within the direct light of the moon (I usually position this indoors, as many of my animal friends would probably drink it). Once infused, this is brought to the ceremony and placed in a goblet where after giving thanks to Goddess, it is drunk slowly. The energy is incredible and is felt deep within the pelvis long after the ritual is completed.

Following the ceremony, I pour some "ale" (beer or whiskey mead is just fine) into two goblets (one for me and one for Goddess) and place a small portion of cookies or biscuits on a plate. I drink and eat after a proper toast and then the cakes and ale that were set out for Goddess are taken outdoors to be given as libations to the night spirits.

I always conclude by closing the sacred circle and giving thanks for all the good that comes to me.

Blessed be! 

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An Existential Witch

There are many ways to describe my unique Way in the world,
solitary, eclectic, white, green, Celtic, goddess...
but if pinned down for a specific term, I am most comfortable
with Existential Witch.
One of the tenets of my practice has to to do with respecting
tradition, so I read the old masters and mistresses
in poetry, prose, and philosophy.
Kierkegaard, who is thought to be the father of existentialism,
thought that subjectivity (which is how people relate to objective truths)
becomes more important than the truths alone. Idealisms have
their place, but cannot replace the living, breathing, feeling, actions when applied 
as a starting point of philosophical discussion.
With this in mind, I read all I can about my craft
and discard anything that doesn't ring true for me.
"And it harm none, do as you will" is a great starting place, but how
 your life has shaped you seems to determine what is harm and what is your own will.
Once initiated on my Path, I realized that there is no mercy if I harm another,
The Three Fold Law (which states what you send out will come back to you threefold)
kicks in even when the harm was inadvertent. All actions carry a responsibility of consequence.
If you gauge your life in honesty, you will learn what you need to find the peace that is sought.
On one hand, if you knew how important your life is you may be afraid to explore at all,
on the opposite spectrum if you knew how insignificant your life is you may go overboard in exploration... somewhere there is a balance to achieve.
My practice attempts to find that place... so I can at least maintain an equilibrium. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Simple Magick

What is magick anyway?
The root word magic conjures up images of a rabbit being pulled from a tophat... cruelty at best, deception at it's worst.

My magick simply put, is the will of your own Spirit having it's way in a world gone mad.

Walk down a solitary street, a crowded boulevard, a sullen lane...
A stranger you will meet with the worries of their world
You smile and greet
If they notice and accept your warmth they will brighten in return
If not they will ignore
The brightening is magick
The ignoring signifies skill yet to be honed

Brightest Blessings!