Daily Archives: July 12, 2011

We Must Hide No Longer

We Must Hide No Longer

Author: Ryan Smith

Welcome to America, the self-proclaimed land of the free and home of the brave. The country where, at least in theory, one can practice any faith one wishes and can fully exercise as the Founding Fathers put it the “freedom of conscience.”

The First Amendment, which starts with “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, ” while plain on its face has had a lot of footnotes attached to it over the years by the Christian supermajority. Freedom of religion as long as your faith is Abrahamic in origin. Freedom from persecution as long as you kneel before the Cross. Freedom to worship openly and unhindered only if your faith is one that was thrust on your ancestors by foreign missionaries who claimed to have their best interests at heart.

As a member of what is America’s Invisible Minority, I am no stranger to what happens to Pagans when one is ‘outed’. While I have not been physically assaulted or fired because of my faith I do know what it is for people to go oddly silent when I offer a blessing. I know what it is to be mocked as “insane” and/or labeled a “devil-worshiper”. And of course, I have heard the ever-popular chastisement of, “You’re going to Hell.” I’m fairly sure that anyone whom is not Christian reading this knows what I’m talking about. I’m also fairly sure most people reading this, if they personally have not been the victims of it, at least know someone who lost their job shortly after being outed for “personality issues” or because “didn’t quite work out” or because “we no longer have need of your services.”

Then we have the worst examples: Brandi Blackbear, who was suspended from school for fifteen days in Oklahoma due to accusations of witchcraft (1) . In 1999 Tempest Smith of Michigan who, after school administrators washed their hands of the ongoing harassment by Christian students at her school, hung herself rather than deal with it any longer in 2001 (2) .

Palmdale, California, the state that is seen by many and prided as the most forward-thinking in the country, in 2002 had a local Christian group invade a Pagan store and harass, browbeat, intimidate, and threaten patrons who were honoring Ostara. The best part was when the Sheriff’s Department refused to investigate because, oh by the way, a volunteer department chaplain was at the attack and helped organize it (3) .

2004 in South Carolina saw local prosecutors state that a man accused of murder did so because he was Wiccan (4) . There is of course the infamous case of the Wiccan Nevada National Guardsman denied a pentacle on his headstone by the US government (5) .

In 2007 an Army Chaplain, in spite of his stellar record as a soldier and Chaplain, was not only denied his request to serve as a Wiccan Chaplain but also removed from the Chaplain’s Corps (6) . I’m sure there are plenty of other incidents like these that are as bad, possibly worse, that have not been mentioned here.

So what, you may be wondering, is the point of all this? The point is simple: we as a diverse group of Earth-based faith traditions are routinely disrespected and disregarded by American society as a whole.

Now I know a lot of Pagans are likely thinking to themselves, “Why should we care what a bunch of superficial ‘sheeple’ think? We’re free spirits who dance to the beat of our own drums and don’t care what other people say about us!” There is a very serious problem with that kind of thinking.

In the United States of America today there are about 300 million people (7) . Of that 300 million it is estimated only 1.3 million are Pagans of some kind or another (8) . As much as our independent spirit and willingness to question convention is probably our greatest strength it cannot be ignored that we are a tiny minority in an overwhelmingly Christian nation.

What would happen if, for example, the good people at Operation Rescue who had regularly targeted Dr. Tiller’s clinic in Kansas for protest (9) were very directly confronted in the national media and asked if their accusations of him being a mass-murderer (10) were responsible in some fashion for his cold-blooded assassination inside his own church? You would have wall-to-wall coverage of pundits, preachers, and politicians tearing their hair out and wailing about “persecution.”

Now what happens if, say, a Druid Grove is accused of human sacrifice? First off you probably wouldn’t see any media attention given to such a story unless someone decides to go and actually do something about “those dangerous cultists.” You would probably also see outrage and condemnation on the web on Pagan blogs. And just like many other instances of persecution after we as a whole vow “Never Again” and some group or foundation takes up the incident as their championed cause, it sinks back into the morass of apathy.

Why does this happen? Are we not devoted enough to our own dignity? The answer is rather more elementary than Pagans being undeserving or incapable of organizing or any of the other excuses bandied about.

With only a small handful of real victories against our persecutors and attackers, any move to do something about it is already seen by many as doomed to fail. Too many Pagans give our independent nature and notorious difficulty in being organized in any meaningful fashion as cop-outs to really having an impact on society and improving our standing in it. It is, sadly, understandable why many would do so.

Who wants to exhaust their time, money, and energy fighting for a cause pre-determined in the minds of their colleagues as lost? Everyone wants to be the hero riding over the hill; no one wants to be the person who makes the glorious last stand for a greater moral victory. Far better, it would be argued, to think small.

Better to gain a seat on an Interfaith Council or use of a Unitarian Church than to run for public office. Better to make small, easy victories than to organize, mobilize, and take the fight to where it matters most: the public square. Better to cede the debate to people who do not understand us and in many cases are actively hostile to us.

To take such an approach is to sacrifice the future of our faith, of our community, and of the next generation of Pagans for the sake of questionable comfort and unsteady safety in the immediate present. As Ben Franklin once said, “He who would give up a little liberty for a little security will gain neither and lose both.”

We cannot continue to “wait and see” or “let our moment come” or “try not to upset people.” We upset a sizable fraction of the population simply by breathing; staying quiet and walking small will not change that. I see no reason why we, a community that wears our free spirits as a badge of honor and believe in the importance of personal responsibility, should be afraid of standing up for what we believe. Every other group striving for rights and dignity in American history has been told the same thing when they began their push.

If all the other groups had listened then we probably would still have slavery in the South, women as property of their husbands, and only those with land of their own having the right to vote. Discretion is said to be the better part of valor, but when discretion is forced by circumstance then it is no longer a guardrail against madness but a straightjacket for the soul.

So long as we allow inaction we will remain the Invisible Minority. So long as we act in reaction to fear Pagans will continue to be harassed, attacked, fired, and forgotten. The promise of the Declaration of Independence of, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” will remain unfulfilled for all of us. The effort will be long. It will be hard. Only a fool would promise that it would be easy. But America now is no longer the America where the Religious Right stood unchallenged in their agenda by the masses.

The time is now. We stand at a vital crossroads in history. With the power of the social conservatives, at least for now, broken and our numbers on the rise we must seize the moment and begin the long journey to respect and acceptance. In so doing we must remember, for all who join us in the cause, that we do not just do so for ourselves. We fight for each other, our fellow Kin regardless of Tradition.

Most importantly, we are fighting for the future. The future of our Traditions. The future of our community as a whole and the health, vitality, and success of our local communities in particular. Most vitally we are struggling for the next generation. We must take up the cause to demand respect and dignity and work long and hard now so that when the next generation comes of age they will not know the fear, uncertainty, loneliness, and hardship that many of us have been forced to live with.

We begin today so tomorrow we may openly stand on the mountaintops and in the public square with each other, our children, and our fellow Americans and have no fear anywhere in this nation, from Seattle to Atlanta, from San Francisco to San Antonio, from New York to New Orleans there will be no place where we must hide the truth of who we are for the sake of survival or propriety.

We must take up the cause of liberation. We can no longer let fear instilled by our attackers to keep us shoved into the shadows. We must stand up and get involved in our local communities. We need to actively participate in local, state, and federal politics whether or not it is directly Pagan related or not. To give us a voice in public offices, we need to cultivate, assist and support people to run for these offices including those within the existing two major parties.

We must aggressively dispel the lies perpetrated by our foes by coming out to the public where it is safe to do so as a Pagan, as a Druid, as a Witch, as a Heathen so they know we are not some mysterious dark cult but real people they know. We must do this for what are our natural rights as human beings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on our terms according to what we believe not what others say we must believe.

We have no time to wait, no time to allow our moment to come. Our time is here.

Every act we take, great or small, alone or in a group, which is one made for the good of our greater community is one worth doing. Every act no matter its impact is one more step on the road to victory.

We cannot wait for heroes to come riding down from on high to our rescue. We must answer the call and rise to the challenge that we all face.



Footnotes:
1. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1568/is_9_32/ai_70461580/
2. http://community-2.webtv.net/FullMoonCircle/TempestSmith/
3. Rich Breault, “Wiccagate: What do Witches Grove protesters have to hide?, ” Valley Press, 2002-APR-8.
4. http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=2347141 and nav=0RaPRIlo
5. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2007/feb/08/news/chi-0702080027feb08
6. http://www.northcountrygazette.org/articles/2007/032907WitchTrials.html
7. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/US.html
8. http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/affiliations-all-traditions.pdf
9. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/abortviolence/stories/tiller3.htm
10. http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/8967610531.html

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Sorcery: The Practical Application of Ancient Wisdom

Sorcery: The Practical Application of Ancient Wisdom

Author: Frabato
I strongly dislike the word “magick”, especially used with the ‘k’ at the end. I prefer sorcery albeit it’s negative connotation. Having said that, I still use magick on occasions. Magic and the occult have seen a grand revival, a rebirth of popularity. It is thought to be safe, as nobody will burn witches and wizards anymore.

But is it REALLY safe?

As a practitioner of the Ancient Wisdom Arts, you must know a lot. To fully appreciate the Ancient Wisdom, we all must become Wizards of sorts…

Sorcery implies that we take control or our own destiny and help in fulfilling our natural spiritual evolution. Sorcery (the right hand path) can help you.

Practical use of the Ancient Wisdom will help you realize your true destiny and return to your source. Even if you are not a student at a moment you are destined in this or some future lifetime is a participant to the studying of the Ancient Wisdom or some derivative branch of it available at that time.

The name or labels might be slightly different as it was with the kabala; Rosicrucian’s, Masons etc but they all were following the same path. This is a key to your awakening and source of much magic and miraculous things.

The ancient wisdom is a self contained existence that aspirant can practice and follow. If you choose the right hand path you will be on the right path. It is not mandatory however but it is suggested. Magick, wikka, all other pagan branches are somehow connected to this age-old quest, this “holy grail”. They of course deny this, some of them, but in the reality it is all the same thing. The concepts are the same but the devil is in the detail.

There are some secrets I must share with you. You do not need to be awakened or be an ascended master to be protected and cared for. Your needs will be met. As soon as you start walking this path, magic will be an everyday occurrence. The reality is that details will mislead us and lead us ashtray. I have tried to capsulate the important key points to the Ancient Wisdom but it is not all-inclusive.

My mission, teaching and life’s purpose is as follows:

1) To demonstrate the power and commonplace acceptance of the left hand path.

2) To show you how beneficial even the right hand path can help the average person to alleviate stress, improve everyday life in work, personal and financial relationships.

3) Offer a clear understanding between the right hand path and its opposite without fear-mongering or passing judgment on the alternative. Choosing a path must be a choice. Sadly, often people are steered and misdirected into “teachings” under a false pretext.

Important facts helpful to know about Magic[k] or Sorcery are as follows:

1) Your higher-self is the natural source of right-hand magick and miracles. This is not the only source but IMHO the best source.

2) Ceremonies, while allowed are not necessary. If you have the time and the inclination have a ball, but it is just a smokescreen in my opinion.

3) The key ingredient of magick is the mojo, prana, life force (psychic energy) , chi that we all have to a certain extent but we can lose and replenish it subsequently.

4) Midfullness…the reason and inclination to why we strive to do magick is essential. Contemplate it. Ask yourself honestly IS it because you want power and money? Do you wish to use the Force for your selfish needs and ego? Do you wish to impress girls? (Or boys?)

If answer is yes to any of this, you are no longer on the right hand path.

What do Feng Shui and Star Wars have in Common?

The Chinese culture is ancient and it had preceded the west in many scientific discoveries, and philosophical advances in many aspects. Contemporary men often look at the Chinese as superstitious and weird in their outlook of life and the way they perceive the world.
It behooves us to study and try to understand this ancient civilization better and try to see similarities rather than pointing out the obvious differences. The biggest obstacle in understanding the Chinese is the spoken and written language.

There is a basic concept in the Chinese thinking is the dual energies the Yin and Yang.
The Yin and Yang as we refer to this in the West is used to describe how seemingly opposing forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, giving rise to each other in turn. The concept of polarity lies at the heart of many branches of classical Chinese science and philosophy, as well as being a primary guideline of traditional Chinese medicine, and a central principle of different forms of Chinese martial arts and exercise, such as Tai Chi.

Tai Chi as the name implies works with the life force of the human body called Chi (or Qi) .
This unseen force that keeps humans and all living forms alive actually exists in inanimate objects as well, albeit in a lower quantity.

What is the relationship of the Yin and Yang to this mystical life force? The answer is simple. They are interconnected.

If you look at the symbolism, of the yin and yang it is obvious that the polarity exist in oneness, hence it is seemingly a paradox. The oneness of dark and light is an occult secret, hard to understand but the underlying principle that propels everything in this Universe is the Qi (or Chi) . This is the Life Force, the prana as the Hindus refer to it, used by BOTH – Dark or Light. This word is in Sanskrit and it has the same translation as Qi in Chinese (meaning “breath”) .

To understand the relationship of Yin and Yang to Qi we have to take you back in time a little and use popular culture in America. Star Wars was viewed by millions of people worldwide. If you remember the Force that Yoda was using and teaching to young Luke Skywalker, then you’d remember the dual existence of the Force the Dark side and the light side. Actually the movie never explicitly said “white”, “Right hand” or “Light”.

It was left to the viewer to decide. It was the opposite of the ominous of “Dark side”.

This energy (Qi) was renamed “Psychic energy” by my former teacher. I do not mean to confuse the reader by all this terminology. The reason I mention this is to illustrate the multiplicity of this concept. It exists in virtually all religions and cultures. The name is just another name referring to an age-old concept but it is strangely appropriate.

Most if not all phenomena, true psychic work, magic and healing is performed using this force.
This energy can self heal, preserve youthfulness, and create miracles. Jesus raised the dead using Psychic Energy; he could walk on water according to the Bible.

The question probably arises from the reader, if we all are born with this psychic energy how come that we end up aging and ultimately dying? The answer is simple. This energy can dissipate and rise according to our lifestyle, thinking and to some external factors such as diet, habits and company we keep.

It is important to point out that this energy is in flux and remains in the body and can be transferred from one body to another and it can leave the body if the host remains uninhabitable.

The biggest factor in keeping our level of psychic energy is our thinking and beliefs. For example if a person refuses to believe in the very existence of psychic energy for whatever reason, this will pose a serious obstacle long term. On the other hand, the idea of realizing something and adopting it into our fabric of being will enhance that concept and strengthen it. When we are born, the slate is clean in our consciousness, we are innocent and no worldly ideas, dogmas and false teachings exist in our subconscious. This state is beneficial to our level of psychic energy.

Factors that enhance psychic energy:
1. Meditation (raising our consciousness)
2. Exercise
3. Fresh Clean Air (right breathing at high elevation)
4. Vegetarianism
5. Purification of the body (fasting)
6. Love towards all

Factors that inhibit psychic energy:
1. Stress
2. Pollution
3. Alcohol
4. Meat
5. Drugs (both legal and illegal)
6. Sex

Certain things we can do to enhance psychic energy are as follows:
1.Wearing proper talismans or amulets, amber jewelry
2. Pine needle and pine (even cut and processed into lumber)
3.Tibetan Musk
4. A healer (in extreme cases) .

I hope this essay is beneficial to you in your understanding of the basics of the supernatural and magical. The importance of this is that having this power is not easily obtainable, as Mother Nature jealously guards her secrets, but the end result is entirely up to you.

It is all obtainable and you do not need a priest or a rabbi, or in fact you do not need any intercessor to get there. It is your birthright.

“There are two forces, each having seven streams, and they again seven times seven, and so on downward unto an infinity of numbers.

They are right and left, hand positive and negative, light and darkness, good and evil. Each has many names and many attributes,

and in the ultimate the two are one; though not yet, nor for many eons, is their oneness manifested, and until then they are opposites.

Their oneness is an occult secret, difficult to understand, and it is madness for the choosers of the left hand force to meditate their treacheries when the star of the right hand force is in the ascendant.” — fragment from THE DIARY OF OLYMPUS – Queen Cleopatra by Talbot Mundy


Footnotes:
“Talk Does Not Cook the Rice” vol I and II by Guru RHH

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Can You Recognize a Pagan or a Wiccan When You See One?

Can You Recognize a Pagan or a Wiccan When You See One?

Author: jajlo b
I have only been studying and practicing Wicca (and I say practicing since I’m not perfect) for the last 10 years. I’m very much eclectic, and have had to do much of it on my own. I just haven’t found a teacher that I feel is right. And in all honesty, I’m not looking for one just now. I enjoy my freedom to digest what I read in many forms and what comes to me through my dreams, and mediations.

But I often wonder… can you really tell who is Pagan or Wiccan and who is not, by some outward sign?

I mean I know a lot of people who wear t-shirts with faeries and fey on them. I have seen people with bumper stickers saying, “Give me that old time religion” and a Pentacle right next to the phrase. I have even seen t-shirts in Kansas near where the Wizard of Oz museum is with “Good Witch” on the front. (I actually have that one because I have a strange sense of humor.)

But in all honesty, how do you tell a Pagan or a Wiccan from everyone else you meet in your daily life and travels.

The reason that I ask is because of two separate occurrences that happened to my husband and me.

Okay picture if you will, walking into a truck stop about 11 p.m. one night and the cashier is busy with a line full of costumers. And she is wearing one of those fancy sterling silver pentacles. Not a pewter one, but one that you know is sterling silver and she has a small Pentacle ring on that I notice as her fingers are flying across the cash register keys.

Anyway my husband and me finally make our choices and approach the cashier. “Hi, that is a pretty necklace.”

“Thank you, I’m a High Priestess, and my daughter had me order this from such and such” is the response she gave.

Ok, not exactly the response that I was looking for or expected. I only commented on her necklace. I had to do double-check my appearance; yep my pewter Pentacle was safe inside my uniform shirt. And I don’t have any tats or rings or earrings that have Pentacles on them. So why did she just come across with that answer.

Just then I realize she is still talking about the necklace. She goes on to tell me that she was thinking about doing a consecration ritual when it comes in the mail. But she decided not open it till the night of the full moon. So she could do the whole ritual properly (I still haven’t said anything else at this point) .

She goes on to explain she got her ritual bath and set up her altar and went to her room to get the necklace (This was an outdoor ritual she adds almost in a whisper as there is another customer at the register) . But as she goes to take it out of the tissue paper that is wrapped up she gets a shot of what she can only describe as static electricity.

Just then she says she realized that the maker of the necklace had consecrated it when they created the piece. Her daughter quickly tells her to just put it on, and wear as the artist that created it had to be stronger and more skilled than her and her ritual would only ruin the piece.

I tell her that is amazing and thank you for sharing with me and I walk away with my husband, who looks at me and says, “She’s a High Priestess. You didn’t even tell her you were Wiccan. So how did she know?”

I just look at him and shrug, “Beats me”

About a month later sitting in Montana at another truck stop we are eating. I see the younger couple come in (They look to be in their mid to late 20’s; my husband and I are in our 40’s) with their two children. I’m facing the door so I can see the t-shirt the young woman is wearing” 51 percent Angel/ 49 percent Pagan {don’t push it}.

I laughed. “ I like your shirt” I say while giggling about the thought of it.

“Thanks. I’m a High Priestess, ” she says back to me. And walks past.

I look at my husband; he looks at me, and says, “ What is it about declaring High Priestess status suddenly?”

I shake my head and double-check my appearance. My pentacle is in my shirt, not visible to anyone. So what is the deal with people saying this when I just comment on something they are wearing?

Suddenly the young lady comes back over to my table and she ask me point blank.” Do you know what Paganism is?”

“Yes, I do.” I tell her then I tell her I’m a solitary Wiccan.

“Oh really!” she says with a smile and some excitement in her voice (someone that she could talk for a few minutes) “ I was a solitary but then all my friends started coming to me and asking me to help them figure out what books they should read, so I ask them if they wanted to just start a coven with me.

They all said yes, and I told them we could do this but I would have to be the High Priestess since they came to me for advice in the first place.”

“Did they all agree to that?” I ask.

“Yes they did, ” she informs me. “My husband drives truck and he is heading to take me home so that I can do a new moon ritual and an initiation this weekend. I have to run to restroom. I’ll be right back”

She walked off, and my husband looks at me and asks, “Is that the way it is done in a coven” (I’m Wiccan; my husband is Catholic)

“No, ” I tell him, “ it is not done that way”

The young lady comes back and asks me to hold out my left hand palm down. I did and she places her right hand under palm side up. She looks at me and proceeds to tell me” Your energy isn’t very strong. I think you need to study more”

“ I have a head and chest cold that is eating up a lot of my energy right now trying to heal.”

“Well I can tell when people aren’t that strong of a Witch. I was doing a tarot reading on a chat line and for a woman in Ireland and she left in the middle of her reading to talk to her High Priestess”, she says

“Why did she go talk to her High Priestess? “ I asked

“Well when she came back she told me that her High Priestess told her that if I was able to pick up on the things that I was that I was one of the strongest High Priestess she had ever heard of.”

“And the woman told me that her High Priestess was now afraid of me”

I just smile and say, ” That is wild that another High Priestess in another country would be so afraid of you.”

She smiles and says” But I know that I’m that powerful and can do that, so that makes me one of the strong elders in this life”

She says she has to go; her husband is motioning for her to come on and help with the kids.

My husband and I get up and walk up to pay for our food, and my husband ask me, ” How do people just know that you are Pagan or a Wiccan?”

“I don’t know, ” I tell him.

To this day, I often wonder. Can you really tell a Pagan or Wiccan from some other outward sign?

Or were these two women just trying to startle me because I made a comment about their religious items?

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From Pagan to Christian to Angry Ex-Christian to Pagan

From Pagan to Christian to Angry Ex-Christian to Pagan

Author: Sister Services

As a child I sat in the presence of the spirits of my universe. I was instructed by the old citrus tree that held my tree house, by the brown/red dirt and the rain in which I was anointed during the monsoon of each year.

I was blessed with the wisdom of the prickly pear, the quince, the mulberry, peppermint, chaste berry, desert willow and each of the native herbs that sprung up in the spring. Into my ear the desert wind whispered secrets of wild spirits, and the fellowship of beings that dwell in the unseen realms.

In the embrace of this universe I was young and I was wise. I knew my place in this scheme and born in me was an understanding of keeping the balance of my internal and external landscapes. In the years of their lord and during the presidency of Reagan this balance was unsafe and invariably, was attacked.

To Me
God to me
A bug to me
The world to me
Humanity
The ocean
To tears
Forever
To years
My fears
A tree to me
A cell to me
They tell to me
Reality
Paper for ink
A mind to think
Love and hate
The worlds
To Great
For me

In the budding of my youth I was introduced to the building, the names and the rules that would withhold the personal power of my birthright. It was in the church that I would come to learn that all of the aspects of myself that spoke of wisdom, timelessness, the greatness of self and reality were considered beyond evil, they were wrong and for having held these beliefs I, fundamentally, was also wrong.

Feeling betrayed by the universe I turned my back on it. I closed my third eye and blocked the voice of spirit and of the great Mother and the great Father. I was poor, Mexican, fatherless, dumb, a woman, a sinner and now worse than all of these, I was alone.

So frightened, confused and painfully alone.

Godless Alone
I cry out to the savior
My childhood has known
Speak to my tears
Then tell me to pray
Interior emptiness growing
Alone
Silent heavenly being
A fatherless child cries
Talk to my fears
Tell them your there
The crying that echoes within
Coldly dies- alone
I receive no reply
From the empty night sky
Why should I bother
With another absent father?
So I talk to my loneliness
And lean on regret
Childhood prayers you to soon forget
I cry into my hallow
It’s stable and is known
Gathering dust
On forgotten tears
My reflection is sad
Godless, alone
Through the years
Iv’ grown to see
What time and pain have shown
Relentless strength
Is company
My only and my own

Fear taught is fear lived. I was wounded and afraid and not wanting to be perceived as weak I covered my fear with anger. Having been given the gifts of observation and thinking I soon discovered that they who would condemn the most precious and colorfully beautiful parts of me were the actualization of the evil they preached. They each embodied the fears and failings of humanity, the very challenges they considered to be the signs of a demonic presence in a person’s life.

“Bethy, those feelings are only the devil trying to get at you! Don’t let the devil win- fight the devil Bethy! By the power of Jesus tell satin to be gone. By the blood of the lamb be gone from the thoughts of this child of god!” said my pastor, youth leader, church elders, grandmother, government, television and school.

I soon grew to mistrust my church, family, community and worst of all- myself.

Is God…?
Her religion is a figurehead for politics to handle
My religion is the source of laundering and scandal
Religions the excuse for war that none can equal
Religious symbols carved or stamped on graves of tortured people
Americas a melting pot, the world a Caesar salad
Religion is the hovering fork before we’re all devoured
An absent god is sought in vain through a constant upward stare
Anxious souls heaven bound arrive to waiting air
Pious zealots spend their lives in holy chant and prayer
Timeless bible verses read aloud in great despair
A life was laid upon the path that holy men have trod
Religion has me wondering if there ever was a god

And then came the break. I left the building, names and rules that had stripped me of my confidence and shaken my foundations. I drifted in a sea of confused and soul stripped people. Each of us had been born with our sacred temple at the center of ourselves and the followers of the Christ had burned and pillaged the temple and raped the sovereignty of mind. We were naked and exposed to the elements believing that the elements were outside of us, acting on us without our consent, participation or design.

This was the beginning of the search for solid ground. I soon learned that I could depend upon myself for comfort, protection and stability. I had found something to again have faith in- myself. The fire of disillusionment burned and I welcomed its cleansing flames, inviting them to devour all that remained of my fearful, weak and sinful self. Let the light of my sacred flame illuminate my eternal soul- amen.

Fade Away/Fly Away
There was a day I leapt into the sunlight and was blinded by the joy that I’d rejoiced in
I’d lived so long I couldn’t tell that I had walked among the edges of the jumps I should have made.
I cannot stay. I cannot see.
I cannot see the wings I feel have grown among the daises of my brain
I will not go, I will not flee.
I will not see, although the sun has dazzled me awake.
I feel the light
I want to go
I feel the heat
I want to shine
I feel the passion as it’s fizzled out in pain- its mine.
When is the time?
When will I teach my wings to stretch and reach the sky?
Why must I stay?
Hold up my hands and watch the sunlight turn to gray.
Fade away

It’s only now that I can feel the breeze that s blowing through my brain.
It’s only now that I can see I’m not the same.
Now is the time! Now is the day!
Now is when I stretch my wings into imagination,
Fly away.

At the close of a century that held my lessons in ignorance, anger and forgiveness, I was 18 when I saw Phyllis Curott on the Rosanne Bar talk show. It was 1998 in the Halloween episode she, Rosanne and two other priestesses held hands and sang:

We all come from the goddess,
And to her we shall return
Like a drop of rain,
Flowing to the ocean
”.

Their voices were the moon calling up the oceans of my soul. I opened and wept the tears of a child who had heard her mother’s voice calling her home from the storm. I heard the voice of the mother in the voices of those women and I followed it home.

Renegade’s Ride
Renegade religion
And I upon a steed
Flight into the holy
Mother’s mystery
Sound and speed unending
Speed and sound combined
Flight beyond travails
And I who seek- shall find
Find the darksome mother
Nude by dark and light
Light and dark unending
Then eyes of second sight
Second sight unending
I see the other side
I see regenerating
This unending ride.

In 2008 I am 28 and have been trained as priestess, practiced in a coven and now practice as a solitary, occasionally seeking circles and holiday celebrations. In the studio apartment that serves as my temple I am instructed in solidarity by the wood floor, I am blessed by light and the wind that pour into my east facing windows, I am filled with the sounds of waves ebbing and flowing on the shores of my heart and I continue to burn in the light that shines the brilliance of the names which are above all names and the name of the god I am.
I have come home.

No Easy Answers
I wonder with a force
That questions time and space
And I’m wondering what lies
Just beyond this place
And I’m wondering of people
Of their souls and everlasting
And I’m feeling that the answers
Are all there for the asking
I am filling with the sound of a call from deep inside
And the meanings that eluded me
Now with me reside
And these questions and their answers
That froth about my mind
Know that questions are the answer
Know that truth,
Is undefined.



Footnotes:
All original material written by E. B. Rodriguez

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Tears of a Witch

Tears of a Witch

Author: Crick

As I wander through the beloved woods, ever so grounded and connected to Spirit, I begin to think of the fear of witchcraft. Such a fear was started by a religious belief system seeking power and control over others. And through the last two centuries this baseless fear has resonated like a war drum through generations of folks. Folks who dared to walk a path that began with the dawn of humankind have lost their homes, their belongings and in many a case, their very lives.

And so I pause beside a woodland stream, as I wonder why.

Are we not all seekers of the light? Do we not all seek the answers to the Great Mysteries within our own beliefs? Are not all beliefs systems, whether religious and/or spiritual simply a possibility to achieving one’s afterlife goals?

For no religion and/or spiritual path has a definitive answer to what our chosen Deity has in mind as far as the Grand scheme of things. As I watch the rivulets of water wash over this streambed strewn with multi-colored pebbles, I think of how generations of folks have come and gone, much like how each rivulet passes down stream. And yet such misguided beliefs have remained in place like the pebbles cascaded across the bed of this secluded stream. Unmoved though a new generation of water sweeps over them.

And then I begin to think that if we do not have the answers, why one would want to be locked into a strict dogma that filters out any new and fresh ideas about spiritual ascension. Seeking answers to such a grand mystery is an on going process. Choosing to be stagnant in one’s spiritual progression leads me to think that perhaps such a belief system it’s not about spiritual growth to begin with.

And so why the hate mongering and the overwhelming fear?

If one is secure within their beliefs, shouldn’t there be a tendency to at least listen to others even if one chooses not to accept what one hears from others. This is known as communication. But when there is no such open communication, it leads me to wonder from where the insecurities that have spanned so many decades are originating.

For as a witch, I offer no harm to anyone unless it is in self-defense. I seek not to convince others of my beliefs; for such beliefs are a mark of my individuality and are constantly undergoing changes as new revelations becomes available.

Does such institutional fear come from the knowledge that a witch connects with Mother Earth as a way of life? I would ask why those who carry such fear in their hearts do not themselves utilize such a rich resource of knowledge. For such knowledge is there for all.

Witches are chastised and have even been put to death for connecting with the spirit realm, and I wonder why. Do we not all have a spirit within us and will we not all revert to spirit when our time in this realm comes to a close? What is there to fear?

Witches are disavowed for drawing upon the energy that is all about us and manifesting this energy into a tangible result. Do not all religions and/or spiritual beliefs follow similar patterns though they may use different words and actions to initiate such workings? Is not such a divine gift available openly and freely to all who seek such inherent abilities? Does Deity select but one belief system and cater to just those thoughts? Or does Deity transcend such narrow parameters and in fact respond to all who seek regardless of which path they follow?

So why manifest such lies and unfounded hatred?

As this stream in the middle of the woods flows over the bed of pebbles, does it really care if some pebbles are red, or brown, or black? Or does it just want to be free to follow its destiny without a barrier created by humans. Are humans any less worthy of such a freedom within their beliefs?

As I think these thoughts, tears run down my cheeks. As a witch I seek to stay connected with the old ways. Ways that have served humankind for so long. Ways that open doors to those places that are now shrouded in the mists of ignorance. Ways that allow me to utilize introspection in an effort to see my own faults and thus gives me the strength to address them in a positive manner. Are such practices so terrible that they deserve the scorn of so many who do not attempt to try and understand?

As a witch, I too walk about in a state of fear. A fear based upon the realities of our society. There is the fear that I may lose my means of employment, if my spiritual path comes to light. This is an established fear that has come to pass at one point in my life. There is the fear that bodily harm could come to me and my loved ones by those who blindly wallow in ignorance, simply because I choose to believe as an individual. This is yet another bitter experience that has raised its ugly head at one point in my life. And once again, I have to ask why.

Why can we not all accept the fact that we are seekers on the path of life? And as it is with such travelers, no one person has all of the answers.

As I stand here on this cold autumn morning and watch this small stream flow by, I know within my heart that in time this stream will wear down the pebbles that it flows over. And that in time new pebbles will take their place.

As a witch and as a human, I can only hope that such a transition will take place in the river of life and that the fear and the ignorance will in time be worn down as well. I desire that which I wish for others, the right to follow my path without obstructions being placed before me by other humans.

I seek to not judge others nor do I seek to be judged.

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Lady A’s Spell of the Day for July 12th: Binding Someone Annoying Spell

Binding Someone Annoying Spell

Take a piece of paper and write the name of the person that is to be bound on a “3×3″ piece of paper, using a black ink pen or a pencil.

While you do this visualize the face of the person on your mind. When you have written the name cross it with an inverted pentacle (5 pointed star within a circle).
Fold the paper twice and take a rubber band and tie the paper with it. Raise it to your temple and chant three times the following…
“To be protected from you,
This magic charm i will do,
With this words i bind thee,
For you to let me be,
To be protected from your harm,
I now seal this charm”.
Now place the paper on your right shoe and slam your foot on the ground nine times (doesn’t have to be so loud that everyone hears it) As you slam it the ninth time say…
SO MOTE IT BE

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Gemstone of the Day for July 17th is Lavender Quartz

Gemstone of the Day

Lavender Quartz

Lavender Quartz is a mix of Amethyst and Rose Quartz, and also its colour is a mix of these two, a soft pinkish lilac is the result. Because of its ‘mixed’ origins Lavender Quartz combines the healing and magical properties of Amethyst and Rose Quartz, in a similar way as Ametrine, which combines the properties of Amethyst and Citrine in it. Lavender Quartz positively influences the psyche, this stone dispels mental blockages, but it also gives its wearer joy. On the physical level this stone positively influences the metabolism and blood circulation.

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Herb of the Day for July 17th is Silverweed

Herb of the Day

 

Silverweed

Botanical: Potentilla anserina (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae

—Synonyms—Prince’s Feathers. Trailing Tansy. Wild Agrimony. Goosewort. Silvery Cinquefoil. Goose Tansy. More Grass. Wild Agrimony.
—Part Used—Herb.

The Silverweed, one of the commonest of the Potentillas, is very abundant in Great Britain and throughout the temperate regions, extending from Lapland to the Azores, and is equally at home in regions as remote as Armenia, China, New Zealand and Chile.

All soils are congenial to its growth. It spreads rapidly by means of long, creeping runners and thrives in moist situations, especially in clay, where the water is apt to stagnate, and is common by waysides, though on dusty ground it becomes much dwarfed.

It has a slender, branched root-stock, dark brown outside, which has been eaten in the Hebrides in times of scarcity.

The leaves are covered on both sides with a silky, white down of soft hairs, mostly marked on the underside, hence its English name of Silverweed. They are 2 to 5 inches long, much cut or divided, interruptedly pinnate, i.e. divided into twelve to fifteen pairs of oval, toothed leaflets along the midrib, each pair being separated by a shorter pair all the way up.

The buttercup-like flowers, in bloom from early summer till later autumn, are borne singly on long footstalks from the axils of the leaves on the slender runners. They are large, with five petals of a brilliant yellow colour and the calyx is cleft into ten divisions.

The Silverweed is a favourite food of cattle, horses, goats, pigs and geese. Only sheep decline it.

Older writers call it Argentina (Latin, argent, silver) from its appearance of frosted silver. The name Anserina (Latin, anser, a goose) was probably given it because geese were fond of it.

The generic name, Potentilla, is derived from the Latin adjective potens, powerful, in allusion to the medicinal properties of some of the species.

—Parts Used—All parts of the plant contain tannin.

In modern herbal medicine the whole herb is used, dried, for its mildly astringent and tonic action. It has an astringent taste, but no odour.

The roots, which are even more astringent, have been used, also the seeds.

The herb is gathered in June, all shrivelled, discoloured or insect-eaten leaves being rejected. Collect only in dry weather, in the morning, after the dew has been dried by the sun. Failing the convenience of a speciallyfitted drying-shed, where drying is carried on by artificial heat, drying may be done in warm, sunny weather out of doors, but in half-shade, as leaves dried in the shade retain their colour better than those dried in the sun. They may be placed on wire sieves, or wooden frames covered with wire or garden netting, at a height of about 3 or 4 feet from the ground, to ensure a current of air. The herbs must be brought indoors to a dry room or shed at night, before there is any chance of them becoming damp by dew.

For drying indoors, a warm, sunny attic may be employed, the window being left open by day, so that there is a current of air for the moist, hot air to escape; the door may also be left open. The leaves and herbs can be placed on coarse butter-cloth, stented, i.e. if hooks are placed beneath the window and on the opposite wall, the butter cloth can be attached by rings sewn on each side of it and hooked on so that it is stretched quite taut. The temperature should be from 70 degrees to 100 degrees F. Failing sun, any ordinary shed, fitted with racks and shelves can be used, provided that it is ventilated near the roof, and has a warm current of air, caused by an ordinary coke stove or anthracite stove. The important point is rapidity and the avoidance of steaming; the quicker the process of drying, the more even the colour obtained, making the product more saleable.

All dried leaves should be packed away at once in wooden or tin boxes, in a dry place, as otherwise they re-absorb about 12 per cent of moisture from the air, and are liable to become mouldy and to deteriorate in quality.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—A strong infusion of Silverweed, if used as a lotion, will check the bleeding of piles, the ordinary infusion (1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water) being meanwhile taken as a medicine.

The same infusion, sweetened with honey, constitutes an excellent gargle for sore throat. A tablespoonful of the powdered herb may also be taken every three hours.

It is also an excellent remedy for cramps in the stomach, heart and abdomen. In addition to the infusion taken internally, it is advisable to apply it to the affected parts on compresses.

On the Continent, a tablespoonful of the herb, boiled in a cup of milk, has been recommended as an effective remedy in tetanus, or lockjaw. The tea should be drunk as hot as possible. If the patient dislikes milk, boiling water may be used.

The dried and powdered leaves have been successfully administered in ague: the more astringent roots have been given in powder in doses of a scruple and upwards.

As a diuretic, Silverweed has been considered useful in gravel. Ettmueller extolled it as a specific in jaundice. Of the fresh plant, 3 OZ. or more may be taken three or four times daily.

The decoction has been used for ulcers in the mouth, relaxation of the uvula, spongy gums and for fixing loose teeth, also for toothache and preserving the gums from scurvy.

A distilled water of the herb was in earlier days much in vogue as a cosmetic for removing freckles, spots and pimples, and for restoring the complexion when sunburnt.

In Leicestershire, Silverweed fomentations were formerly used to prevent pitting by smallpox.

Salmon (1710) says:
‘It is very cold and dry in the second degree, astringent, anodyne, vulnerary and arthritic. It stops all fluxes of the bowels, even the bloody flux, also spitting, vomiting of blood, or any inward bleeding. It helps the whites in women and is profitable against ruptures in children and is good to dissipate contusions, fastens loose teeth and heals wounds or ulcers in the mouth, throat or in any part of the body, drying up old, moist, corrupt and running sores. It resists the fits of agues, is said to break the stone, and is good to cool inflammation in the eyes, as eke to take away all discolourings of the skin and to cleanse it from any kind of depredation.’
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