One Witch's Thoughts

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Nature Teachings: Ant

OK, so this is a carpenter ant, but you get my point.

Many years ago, I participated in a guided meditation, during which we were meant to meet some of our animal guides.  I learned that day that I have at least one Insect Guide:  the ant.  I met Ant in one of its underground tunnels.  In the vision, I was very small--smaller than the ant--but I was not afraid, and the ant was not vicious. We simply had a conversation.  That day, I did not walk away with a clear understanding of what Ant wanted from me or what its purpose is in my life.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was struggling with current events, I looked up at one point during my meditation, and I saw one, lone ant crawling up the wall from behind my Altar.  My Temple is not on the ground floor, and the windows weren't open that day, so it seemed very random.  I just sat and watched the ant, and as I did so, the guided meditation I mentioned came back to my awareness. Finally, it occurred to me what Ant wants from me. Ant is not my Totem. It is simply one of my Animal Guides, though it is one of the more prominent ones!

I need to let go of my worry over The Big Picture.  I can't directly affect The Big Picture alone.  I can only do my one, small part.  There are a few things at which I excel, so I should stick to that. To try and do too much only brings chaos.  (I don't function well in chaos!) I came to understand that I need to work on my fundamentals, and I need to focus on my strengths and tackle this massive problem we have here in the US from that angle.  I can't take on the world by myself. I can only add my unique voice and energy to the larger whole.

As mundane an event as that was on the surface--seeing that one ant and watching it crawl up the wall--it was exactly what I needed to see and to remember in that moment.

Ever since this encounter, I have had a much better understanding of my role as a Witch in combating the negative effects of our current Administration's actions, and I have been feeling much, much less upset, uptight, and anxious.  I'm happy to say I now have a plan and a date and time and will begin creating my own working.  I will share the basics of it in a few days, should anyone else be interested.  I don't intend for this to be a coordinated or mass effort.  I simply like to share what I come across.

More on Ant as a Spirit Guide:

Information on Insects as Totems:

Blessed be!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Why I Will Not Help Witches Bind the President

Starting tonight, many will be participating in a spell to bind donald j. trump . While I support my Brother and Sister Witches of all paths wholeheartedly, I will not be participating.  I have a few reasons for this. My purpose in writing this post is not to try and tell anyone they are wrong or are violating some "Karmic Law" or another.  That is not my place.  I'm sharing my reasoning, so that others who may be on the fence or who may be facing pushback because they don't want to participate can see a different perspective on the matter or can feel that they are not alone in having reservations.

  1. I do not know where this document originated.  I do not know the individual(s) who created the spell, nor do I know their intent.  The intent is laid out in the spell itself, true, but I still don't know what the person's true intent is, what is in their heart.  For me, personally, this is an issue.
  2. There are too many unknowns around the execution of the spell. Yes, the time frame is specified, and there are instructions; however, everyone's working will be different, and everyone working the spell will have different intent.  That is OK, but it does not work for me. I need structure in order to feel confident in my workings.
  3. There is no container. Without a proper container for a mass working, there is a probability that the energy put out will simply disperse and possibly not hit its target.
  4. I don't feel binding is the best way to mitigate the damage done by this administration and heal the harms.  My personal belief is that the best way to be effective is to put magic and prayer behind things like bringing all of their dirt and lies to the light, so that they can be seen for what they really are, or supporting the CIA investigation, the writ of mandamus, and other such individual happenings.
You'll notice, Dear Reader, that I did not say anything in my reasons list about the Law of Returns, the Wiccan Rede, or Karma.  As I said before, I don't feel it is my place to be the Moral Police of the Craft.  I know what my ethics dictate, but I do not judge others.  I chose Wicca as my path.  Others did not.  That does not bother me.  There is room for all Witches in this world.

Since the election, I have been doing my own workings, joining groups when I have the opportunity to do so.  I will continue to work this way.

I would love to hear other people's thoughts.

Monday, February 6, 2017

These are Trying Times

My better nature is being tested greatly.

This election was very hard on me.  It was hard on many people.  And things are getting even worse, now that 45 is in office and "doing his job."  As a Wiccan, I've been struggling very, very hard.  I've been feeling very angry and very betrayed by my country on a daily basis. It is true that, as a white woman, I have privilege (something I'm not proud of, nor did I ask for, but I have, nonetheless;) however, that does not mean I feel nothing for those who are different from me.  In fact, I would have to say that I feel way too much, sometimes.  I am an empath, and more importantly, I like to believe that I am a decent human being.  All I know for sure is that what is happening right now in the U.S. is really not ok

Like other Witches and Pagans, I have been working magic and praying and journaling and working on my own shit daily.  Like other Witches and Pagans, as well, I have been bumping up against my personal ethics.  A lot. This has been a topic of heavy conversation over the past week and, no doubt, beyond.

Several people have weighed in, and I am grateful, because, while I have not been in direct dialogue with these folks, reading their words has caused me to look at my own situation from several different angles and to investigate where I really am at. I have concluded that I am at a good place, a place where I am comfortable, ethically. I now have a better understanding of my role in all of this, as a Witch, and that has alleviated my anxiety and frustration a great deal.  My sadness is another story, but that's for another post on another day.

What magical activism comes down to, from where I am standing, is very simple:  Know yourself.  Know your boundaries.  Know that every action we take, regardless of who we are, what our path and beliefs are, and what our intention is, has consequences.  What those consequences are or will be, none of us know. What is for us to know is what we each are comfortable with, what we can live with as blow-back for the actions we take.

I was tested fairly early on in my magical workings.  I was tested mightily, and I learned just in the nick of time where that boundary is for me.  Then, some years later, I started studying Wicca.  The rules laid out by my predecessors were a very good guide when I was new on the path.  Now, I have a deeper understanding of the nature of the Craft, and while I will always teach those rules and will always respect them, I find I don't need to follow to the letter.  My own inner guides have shown me where I need to be.

We will always make mistakes as we walk our paths.  The secret is to be aware of this and to let go.  We need to be brave enough to take responsibility for what we put out into the Universe, and in my opinion, we must always work from a place of justice and compassion.

Blessed be.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Grimoire Project

The desk was my grandmother's vanity.

In mid-October, I sat down and finally began to compile my Grimoire. For now, it's simply a timeline, with a few notes included with each entry.  I'm just trying to get everything documented in one place, hopefully in order. I was very prolific back in the 90s, so my material is spread across three different volumes, each one used for a different purpose.  So far, I have not included details of any of my rituals, and I have not yet decided whether I will include prayers and chants I have written.  I kind of feel like those are meant for their own volumes.  I may also number my journals and create an index.  One thing at a time, though.

What I'm finding is that this is the one area of my life where I have always felt confident.  I was a shy child, and I'm a shy adult, but as I read back through my journals, I'm realizing I have never doubted myself when it comes to Craft.  Not once.  (That's pretty cool!) This does not mean I have been arrogant.  It just means that I have never been afraid of my path.

I'm choosing to do this by hand, and I intend to keep using the same letterhead you see in the photo--even though that will likely mean running to the local office supply store and making color copies of it. Consistency is important to me, and hand writing has always been a part of my routines, whether  in writing down appointments, writing spells, or just writing. (Most of the time, my first drafts are handwritten.  The only time I seem to be able to sit down at the computer and just type out what I want to say is when I'm doing it in a work context.)  Writing things out by hand helps me to focus and remember things, and it also enhances my intimacy with my material.

Another aspect of this project will be to find a way to store my journals.  I was lucky enough that I have not lost any in any of my moves, and since I've been in my current home, they've all been together on the bookshelf.  Most likely, I will buy a dedicated box or trunk for them and add to it as I fill journals.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Principled Goals: Journals and Grimoire

My current journal, going on year 3

For a couple of years now, my journaling--and really, all  of my writing--has dropped off.  I simply did not write in it for a little over a year. I started again this March, and I returned to it today.  I'm hoping it will stick this time, because I have a big goal around my journaling.  Not only that, it enhances and supports my magical work otherwise.

I am at a place in my life now where I can focus back in n my spiritual work, and I am so hungry for it. Back in the 90s, I was very dedicated, very focused, and very active with the Craft. I am hoping to get back to that now. This will take some time and a lot of work on my part, I am aware. The last time, writing was an integral part of my journey. Hell, it's a part of who I am. 

The truth is, writer's block hurts me. It hurts me like a physical injury. Losing sight of my writer's Muse is a  loss  that I suffer deeply. The fact that I am feeling ready to journal (and maybe pick some other projects back up again) is a huge comfort. The words need to come out. To be published would be divine, but the true goal is to regain clarity and make room for the deeper Work.

The larger goal toward which I am working is to finally compile my Grimoire. I have been a Witch for 25 years now. I have written many spells, conducted many rituals, and even had a student. (Yes. Just one.) I have quite a few journals from which to draw material, including my Book of Shadows, which I started as soon as I first set foot upon the Path. Having everything in one place will be fascinating. How have I grown? What still needs work? I also hope that maybe one day, someone may learn something from it, or that perhaps it will find its way into some Pagan library or archive.

Truly, magic is our legacy, words its vehicle.

I do not expect this project to come together overnight. It is a part of my journey, and it will take as long as it needs to. I'm just happy to be ready to take it on.

Blessed be!   

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Helpers: Gargoyles

John-One of my personal gargoyles and the only one with a name.

"John" carries that name, because--if I remember correctly--when I bought him, I believe the tag said that he's a replica of a St. John's Gargoyle. I can't confirm that, though.  Either way, the name, "John," just seemed right, so he's John.  John is the one I use the most, and he's very effective at what he does. (Too effective, sometimes, which is why I don't actually activate him  often!)  I have two others, one of which is plastic, but still does what I need it to do. I'm going to replace it, eventually.

Traditionally, gargoyles were used to protect buildings--usually churches and cathedrals--from evil spirits.  Technically, the statues I have are grotesques. Gargoyles were rain spouts.  That said, the ones that are not rain spouts have come to be called gargoyles today.  I've had a difficult time finding information on what they mean to other modern Pagans and Wtiches, but to me, they are guardians.  My "thing," magically, has been protection, and when I found John, my relationship with these guardian spirits started, and it's always been about protective magic for me.

There's no one right way to work with them.  I "feed" them occasionally by burning or anointing them with dragon's blood.  Most of the time, I keep them around the house and yard as decoration, and I only activate them when I specifically feel the need for stronger protection than I can muster by myself.  John, in particular, I have to handle very carefully and instruct very specifically.  I activated them most recently when going through a contentious family situation.

I have never needed to de-activate them. These spirits seem to know when I am back to a calm state and am feeling safe.  That said, I am very careful about using them for that purpose.  It's generally a last resort.

I do not have instructions to share.  It's all been a self-developed, intuitive process. I did not conjure the spirit that dwells within "John." It just sort of came to be.  I intuitively just knew to use the statue and what to use it for. The indwelling spirit is most likely a manifestation of my own energy, which is probably why I can direct its use so easily.

My partner isn't bothered by their presence at all, and in fact I have told him I'd like to get a couple of the larger, outdoor gargoyle statues for our property.  They would be decorative, but if I felt so moved, I would use them the same way I use the smaller ones that I have now.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Principled Notes: Anger

The fire of anger is serious.  It can destroy, or it can purify. Sometimes, purification comes from destruction, but if we are not careful, fire can destroy and not purify.  I recently found myself at this grim crossroads due to a bad family situation.

In the wake of a recent death in our family, I was treated very badly by some family members.  To be blunt, I was pretty well screwed over. As this was all unfolding, I was forced to allow the very people who were mistreating me into my home multiple times.  It was tough, and i was very, very, very angry.  I was tempted to do all kinds of things.  Bar them from entering my property, hiding things so they couldn't take them, hexing, and all kinds of other things that a Witch might be temped to do.  I did a lot of meditating and reading and praying on it.  I weighed the pros and cons of each possible course of action.  I smudged. Oh, boy, did I smudge!  I had the cauldron and broom out and smoked the house out pretty thoroughly! I cast more than one protection spell on the house and on us.   I even fed the gargoyles and put them out to guard the house.

In the end,  I decided to take the high road but protect myself.  I responded to everything neutrally at the very least and with kindness when it was warranted, and after people were done being awful to me, I washed my hands of them. I slept much better as a result, and my health held up better.  See, the best thing to do with a raging fire is to contain it, smother it (remove available air,) and then spread the embers and let it die out.  Always, always keep an eye on it, but don't let it consume its container (in this case, the self.) When it goes out, spread the ashes and walk away...

...And that is just what I've done. People ask me a lot why I didn't take vengeful action, why I didn't do things a certain way, and I always tell them the same thing:  Because if I had, I would not be able to live with who I'd become.  I would not be able to live with the fact that I'd let some very unimportant people cause me to act against my ethics. It is not in my nature to deliberately harm another.  To compromise my ethics would be to harm myself.

All of this said, I recognize that fire is also a very useful tool and weapon, and I'm not afraid to use it to protect myself if I find myself in real danger.  I was never in real danger in this situation.  I was simply abused and disrespected.  I lived, though, and I learned a lot.  For that, I give thanks.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Keeping Sacred Spaces Sacred

I recently inherited a house in WV.  Currently, my temple space is set up in the library of the apartment we've been living in inside the house.  Now that the house belongs to me, I've identified a room that will make a perfect Temple--not so much because of the room's placement as the feel of the room.  It's a good space on the southwest corner of the house with a lot of windows. The room's not too big--just big enough for my Altar and some additional shelving.  It also has a closet, which will come in handy.  The room used to be a den, and it's currently a bedroom, so it's always been a tranquil space.

My partner and I are having a bit of a debate about the timing of my Temple setup.  He is concerned about my wellbeing and feels I should dismantle the bedroom and set up my Temple now.  He feels that if I am able to pick my practice back up and get back into meditating regularly, it will help with some health problems I'm currently facing.  He is right, of course, but it's not that simple for me.  I feel a strong need to wait.

Over the next couple of months, there will be people in and out of my house, potentially a lot.  We'll be doing an inventory--going through everything.  Then, all of my siblings will come to the house to go through whatever I don't keep.  After that, there will be an appraiser coming through, and then possibly an estate sale.  Mind you, my partner and I live here.  It's too much random energy, too much chaos.  Yes, I could set up the Temple and then simply close the door when people are here, but we will already be doing that with our apartment.  I wouldn't feel safe having my Temple set up before all of that is over.  I feel too vulnerable.

For now, I'm able to meditate and do Ritual whenever I need to.  My cats have trashed my altar more times than I care to recount, but this time around, they have left it alone, so far (fingers crossed!)  We're locking the basement when people come through, so I figure why not just leave my setup where it is for now?  My family knows that the basement is our private space, so they won't be surprised by the door being locked, but I'm concerned if we start going around locking doors in the rest of the house, it could cause tension.  I think all of us want this all to be over as soon as possible, so I'm taking what I see as the efficient path.

The bottom line, for me, though, is the energy.  I want the energy of that room to remain tranquil.  I do not feel fully safe in sharing that part of my life with people, outside of my tight circle and the few other people who know about me.  There are people who will be coming through the house who are outright hostile to my religion.  Yes, it is my house; however, that does not mean I can control the behavior or the energy of those who visit it--nor would I want to.

Closed doors are a good thing when they protect and define sacred space, but not when they obstruct. For a cleaning out like this, you want flow.  You want to minimize tension. Waiting until everything is over with gives us an opening to move forward and really make the space our own.  If I move the Temple now, it will not feel like flow to me.  The house will not feel fully mine until I feel like people aren't going to be picking it over.  When I have that open space before me, then I will sanctify and construct my new Temple.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Imbolc: Morning of the New Year

The blizzard that hit the East Coast last week, and then the subsequent Big Dig, have provided me with a wonderful personal metaphor for Imbolc this year.  During the time of the blizzard, my partner and I had no other option but to settle in and rest.  As much as I tried to get anything done around the house, the urge to eat and sleep and stare at the idiot box just would not leave me, so I gave into it. My body needed the rest, and so did my mind.  My mother was not with us, having instead been admitted to the hospital because of the storm by a very smart doctor.  (I am happy to say that Mom is currently on the mend.)  Everyone was safe.  Everyone had what they needed.  I hibernated.

Once the weather started to brighten up and get warmer, we started to dig out and (eventually) venture off our land.  We don't have the equipment we need at home to dig out, so we hired a local farmer, who was also digging other neighbors out.  He got to our house the Tuesday after the storm and had our driveway dug out in no time.  Meanwhile, my partner and I worked on getting the cars dug out. (It was a LOT of work!)  The dogs were even able to run free for a little while.  It's not like they could run off anywhere and get themselves into trouble! My energy got better and better, and my sleep habits went back to normal.

Now that we're into some balmy, Spring-like weather (not that I feel it's appropriate at this time,) I'm finding myself more and more ready to get more active and take on more and just get things done. I have huge plans for this year, and this imposed hibernation has really helped me to rest my body and mind so that I can focus on having a busy (and hopefully profitable!) year.  I'm even feeling more ready than ever to find and stick with an exercise routine beyond simply walking.

This Tuesday, when I light my altar for Imbolc, I will be focusing not only on the return of the light, but on the return of life. Imbolc  is about movement and momentum for me this year. This also makes Imbolc the perfect time for me to do my occasional prosperity working.  In general, I do my best work in the morning. This is the morning of the new year, so I plan to (not quite literally) light a fire under my ass on Tuesday.

Blessed be!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

My Thanksgiving Alternative

That is a HOT fire! My candle half melted!

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, the American Thanksgiving holiday bothers me, and I stopped celebrating it many years ago.  I still visit with family--we visited my mom today--but the day does not hold the same meaning for me that it does for most Americans.  For me, it's just another Thursday.  I take advantage of the quiet to get things done, to rest up, and to generally just unwind.  I don't overindulge in food or drink, and though I generally give thanks every day for my many blessings, I just don't make a big deal out of it on this particular day.  Instead, I celebrate Lughnasad, the first harvest, on August 1.

This year, when considering alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving, I thought of ways to reach out to indigenous peoples everywhere and help.  I decided to do a simple meditation, which I called the Ritual for All People. I simply meditated on the ways in which all people are fundamentally the same.  I reflected on my own life recently and how I'd been lashing out at people who don't deserve it, simply because I am under stress.  I asked how all people could heal and how I could rein in my own prickliness and be a nicer person.  I was reminded by Spirit that we are all one and that divisions are artificial.  in my own case, I was instructed to just slow down. (As an apparent reminder of this, as I was cleaning up, I spilled hot wax all over my hand! Ok, Universe!  Now you have my attention!)

I was given what may evolve into a poem or prayer--just snippets.

All people are one people.
Divisions are artificial,
Born of fear.

Every laugh is a piece of the answer.
Every tear also a piece.
Every language is a snippet of a great song...

(That's as far as I've gotten.  That is all that I was given.  It is up to me to finish it.)

Typically, my rituals are very short, but they are always satisfying and lovely.

Regardless of what you celebrate on this day, I hope you are having an abundant and pleasant late Autumn! Blessed be!