Posts Tagged With: Phyllis Curott

Witch for Sale!

Witch for Sale!

Author:   Hecatian Nights 

Sure go ahead and laugh, but just you wait – you may have never been in MY shoes. So what puts me here trying to market myself off to the first bidder that would have me? I, Hecatian Nights, am looking for a coven to call home. That’s right – I’m searching for my very first coven.

I live in Alaska, in my opinion the most beautiful state in our marvelous country, complete with unimaginable mountain terrain, more lakes than Minnesota, just about any kind of animal you could ask for, forests galore and last but not least Santa and the North Pole. Tell me, can any other state compete with Santa? I think not!

According to Witchvox there are about eight covens here. None of which are located in my city, which just so happens to be the largest city in all of Alaska. What sense does that make? Well maybe more than I am willing to admit. After all most Pagans I’ve read of prefer to live in nature, and we sure have it up here.

I have been studying Wicca and Paganism for a little over seven years; granted that makes me quite young when I started and sure I will admit that I only seriously began studying and practicing four years ago. But the attraction between the Craft and me was instant. I fell in love with Wicca; it was something that was so different than what I had grown up with, in my church and in the Catholic school that I had attended. I threw myself into the Craft and soaked up all the knowledge that was lent to me though the books that I read.

Throughout my years I never met another serious Witch, I never talked to anyone that was a member of a “real” coven, and as the years went by I began to feel more and more alone. A feeling of loneliness and a paradoxical sense of belonging are things that I believe go hand in hand with being a Wiccan teen. You feel connected to a Pagan consciousness so alive and vibrant, but at the same time you feel utterly alone and shunned the community.

For a few years I knew a girl who also had an interest in Wicca; we practiced together and even did a ritual on the beach once. It was magical – to me anyway. We re-created a scene between the fighting Brothers, sang a song to the one that had fallen, and afterwards we ate and watched the sun set on the Sleeping Lady Mountain across the inlet. I always thought that every year we could come back on Summer Solstice and do it again. But dreams sometimes fade and old friends can change. We never went back to the beach again.

Though my friend’s interest waned and our friendship failed, my interest in the Craft only grew stronger. I was fine with being alone; I enjoyed it, and I felt special and was content. But as time went on I realized that I wasn’t as content as I once was. I found my solitary state warring on me and I began to understand that I wasn’t meant to be alone. I began to search for others out there. I even met a few people but nothing really panned out. They were either not serious enough or not serious at all.

I felt alone, alone as the only serious Pagan teen that I knew. Adult Pagans, who I don’t blame, wouldn’t meet me, talk to me or offer advice on how I could become more involved. I knew that this was my fate until I was legally an adult but as the years came closer and the time finally arrived, I still found myself detached from the rest of the Pagan world. Coven-less.

Sure there are books, wonderful ones. They opened my mind and gave me exercises and rituals to try. I spent many hours hiding in my room with a Pagan book, reading the stories of men and women and how they found the Craft. And I loved them; I bought just about every single book that would give me a sense of what it was like to be involved in a community of Pagans. Phyllis Curott’s Book of Shadows was one of my favorites, and I can happily recommend it to any person who wonders about Wicca. These books momentarily gave me a glimpse of what a connected Pagans life was like, but as soon as I was done with the book the yearning to be part of a group was back. I knew that I couldn’t ignore it forever. And that is what leads me here.

I feel ready to join a coven, if one will have me. Or at least begin to understand what one truly is. I always thought I would end up a solitary Witch by choice, but that feeling of loneliness has only grown stronger and now I feel a definite want and need to be with those who refer to me as their kindred. It’s time for me to learn, and I feel that books and solitary practicing can only take one so far.

I now believe that it is necessary for wiser Wiccans to allot their knowledge to the next generation, not only in the form of books but to also take us under their wings. Teach to us, learn with us, lead us, speak to us and learn to know us. We are your future and the next generation of Witches and Wiccans. No I don’t mean go out and search for the first 13-year-old pentacle-toting teen you see, but don’t forget the of-age Witches out there!

So, where do I sign up? I’m ready and I’m here to learn. So poke me, prod me, see if I’m ripe; but give me a chance to see if I can call your coven home.

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Thirteen Books Every Wiccan Should Read

Thirteen Books Every Wiccan Should Read

By , About.com

Now that you’ve decided you want to learn about contemporary Wicca or another modern Pagan path, what should you read? After all, there are literally thousands of books on the subject — some good, others not so much. This list features the thirteen books that every Pagan should have on their shelves. A few are historical, a few more focus on modern Wiccan practice, but they’re all worth reading more than once. Bear in mind that while some books may purport to be about Wicca, they are often focused on NeoWicca, and do not contain the oathbound material found in traditional Wiccan practice.

Adler, Margot: Drawing Down the Moon2

If you want to learn about birds, you get a field guide about birds. If you want to learn about mushrooms, you get a field guide to mushrooms. Drawing Down the Moon is a field guide to Pagans. Rather than offering up a book of spells and recipes, Margot Adler presents an academic work that evaluates modern Pagan religions – including Wicca – and the people who practice them. The work is based on a survey the author took over two decades ago, but the information within is still a worthy read. Drawing Down the Moon makes no apologies for the fact that not all Wiccans are full of white light and fluff, but instead tells it like it is. Adler’s style is entertaining and informative, and it’s a bit like reading a really well-done thesis paper.

Buckland, Raymond: Complete Book of Witchcraft

Raymond Buckland is one of Wicca’s most prolific writers, and his work Complete Book of Witchcraft continues to remain popular two decades after it was first published – and for good reason. Although this book represents a more eclectic flavor of Wicca rather than a particular tradition, it’s presented in a workbook-like format that allows new seekers to work through the exercises at their own pace, learning as they go. For more seasoned readers, there’s a lot of useful information as far as rituals, tools, and magic itself. This book is a classic, and well worth picking up.

Cunningham, Scott: Wicca – A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

The late Scott Cunningham wrote a number of books before his untimely death, but Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner remains one of the best known and most useful. Although the tradition of witchcraft in this book is more Cunningham’s eclectic path than any other tradition, it’s full of information on how to get started in your practice of Wicca and magic. He goes into depth about tools, how and why they are used, ethics, and the concept of god and goddess. If you’re interested in learning and practicing as an individual, and not necessarily jumping into a coven right off the bat, this book is a valuable resource.

Curott, Phyllis: Witch Crafting

Phyllis Curott is one of those people who makes me glad to be Pagan — because she’s really normal. An attorney who has spent her life working on First Amendment issues, Curott has managed to put together a really useful book. Witch Crafting is not a collection of spells, rituals or prayers. It’s a hard and fast look at magical ethics, the polarity of male and female in the divine, finding the god and goddess in your everyday life, and the pros and cons of coven life vs. solitary paths. Curott also offers up a very interesting take on the Rule of Three. Whether you’re a new student of Wicca, or a veteran, Witch Crafting is worth reading more than once.

Eilers, Dana: Pagans and the Law – Understand Your Rights

Dana D. Eilers spent many years facilitating an event called Conversations With Pagans, and from that she wrote a book entitled The Practical Pagan. She then drew on her experience as an attorney to write Pagans and the Law: Understand Your Rights. This book goes into depth about precedents in religious discrimination lawsuits, how to protect yourself if you may be a victim of workplace harassment, and how to document everything if your spirituality is leading someone to treat you unfairly. Eilers is an outspoken woman who has a lot of great advice worth listening to.

Farrar, Janet & Stewart: The Witches’ Bible

[p]The first section of this book is Eight Sabbats for Witches. It goes into depth on Sabbat rites, and the meanings behind the holidays are expanded on. While the ceremonies in The Witches’ Bible are the Farrars’ own, there’s a heavy influence of the Gardnerian tradition, as well as Celtic folklore and some other European history. The second half of the book is in fact another book, The Witches Way, which looks at the beliefs, ethics, and practice of modern witchcraft. Despite the fact that the authors are a bit conservative by today’s standards, this book is an excellent look at the transitioning concept of what exactly it is that makes someone a witch.

Gardner, Gerald: Witchcraft Today

Gerald Gardner is the founder of modern Wicca as we know it, and of course of the Gardnerian tradition. His book Witchcraft Today is a worthy read, however, for seekers on any Pagan path. He discusses paganism in Europe, as well as the so-called “witch cult”, and goes on to demonstrate how many of history’s notable names are connected, one way or another, to what we know today as witchcraft. Although some of the statements in Witchcraft Today should be taken with a grain of salt — after all, Gardner was a folklorist and that shines through in his writing — it’s still one of the foundations that contemporary Wicca is based on. For its historical value, few things beat this book.

Hutton, Ronald: Triumph of the Moon

Triumph of the Moon is a book about Pagans by a non-Pagan, and Hutton, a highly respected professor, does an excellent job. This book looks at the emergence of contemporary Pagan religions, and how they not only evolved from the Pagan societies of the past, but also owe heavily to 19th-century poets and scholars. In fact, Hutton points out that a good deal of what we consider “ancient” Pagan practice can be attributed to the novelists and romantics of the late Edwardian and early Victorian era. Despite his status as a scholar, Hutton’s breezy wit makes this a refreshing read, and you’ll learn far more than you ever expected to about today’s Pagan religions.

Morrison, Dorothy: The Craft – A Witch’s Book of Shadows

Dorothy Morrison is one of those writers who doesn’t hold back, and while her book The Craft is aimed at beginners, she manages to create a work that can be useful for anyone. Morrison includes exercises and rituals which are not only practical, but teaching tools as well. Despite its focus on the lighter side of witchcraft, it’s a good starting point for anyone trying to learn about Wicca, and how to create your own rituals and workings. Morrison also has written a number of other books, including a companion work to this one.

Russell, Jeffrey: A History of Witchcraft

Historian Jeffrey Russell presents an analysis of witchcraft in an historical context, from the early days of Medieval Europe, through the witch craze of the Renaissance, and up into modern times. Russell doesn’t bother trying to fluff up the history to make it more palatable to today’s Wiccans, and takes a look at three different kinds of witchcraft — sorcery, diabolical witchcraft, and modern witchcraft. A noted religious historian, Russell manages to make an entertaining yet informative read, as well as accepting that witchcraft in and of itself can in fact be a religion.

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Witch for Sale!

Witch for Sale!

Author:   Hecatian Nights   

Sure go ahead and laugh, but just you wait – you may have never been in MY shoes. So what puts me here trying to market myself off to the first bidder that would have me? I, Hecatian Nights, am looking for a coven to call home. That’s right – I’m searching for my very first coven.

I live in Alaska, in my opinion the most beautiful state in our marvelous country, complete with unimaginable mountain terrain, more lakes than Minnesota, just about any kind of animal you could ask for, forests galore and last but not least Santa and the North Pole. Tell me, can any other state compete with Santa? I think not!

According to Witchvox there are about eight covens here. None of which are located in my city, which just so happens to be the largest city in all of Alaska. What sense does that make? Well maybe more than I am willing to admit. After all most Pagans I’ve read of prefer to live in nature, and we sure have it up here.

I have been studying Wicca and Paganism for a little over seven years; granted that makes me quite young when I started and sure I will admit that I only seriously began studying and practicing four years ago. But the attraction between the Craft and me was instant. I fell in love with Wicca; it was something that was so different than what I had grown up with, in my church and in the Catholic school that I had attended. I threw myself into the Craft and soaked up all the knowledge that was lent to me though the books that I read.

Throughout my years I never met another serious Witch, I never talked to anyone that was a member of a “real” coven, and as the years went by I began to feel more and more alone. A feeling of loneliness and a paradoxical sense of belonging are things that I believe go hand in hand with being a Wiccan teen. You feel connected to a Pagan consciousness so alive and vibrant, but at the same time you feel utterly alone and shunned the community.

For a few years I knew a girl who also had an interest in Wicca; we practiced together and even did a ritual on the beach once. It was magical – to me anyway. We re-created a scene between the fighting Brothers, sang a song to the one that had fallen, and afterwards we ate and watched the sun set on the Sleeping Lady Mountain across the inlet. I always thought that every year we could come back on Summer Solstice and do it again. But dreams sometimes fade and old friends can change. We never went back to the beach again.

Though my friend’s interest waned and our friendship failed, my interest in the Craft only grew stronger. I was fine with being alone; I enjoyed it, and I felt special and was content. But as time went on I realized that I wasn’t as content as I once was. I found my solitary state warring on me and I began to understand that I wasn’t meant to be alone. I began to search for others out there. I even met a few people but nothing really panned out. They were either not serious enough or not serious at all.

I felt alone, alone as the only serious Pagan teen that I knew. Adult Pagans, who I don’t blame, wouldn’t meet me, talk to me or offer advice on how I could become more involved. I knew that this was my fate until I was legally an adult but as the years came closer and the time finally arrived, I still found myself detached from the rest of the Pagan world. Coven-less.

Sure there are books, wonderful ones. They opened my mind and gave me exercises and rituals to try. I spent many hours hiding in my room with a Pagan book, reading the stories of men and women and how they found the Craft. And I loved them; I bought just about every single book that would give me a sense of what it was like to be involved in a community of Pagans. Phyllis Curott’s Book of Shadows was one of my favorites, and I can happily recommend it to any person who wonders about Wicca. These books momentarily gave me a glimpse of what a connected Pagans life was like, but as soon as I was done with the book the yearning to be part of a group was back. I knew that I couldn’t ignore it forever. And that is what leads me here.

I feel ready to join a coven, if one will have me. Or at least begin to understand what one truly is. I always thought I would end up a solitary Witch by choice, but that feeling of loneliness has only grown stronger and now I feel a definite want and need to be with those who refer to me as their kindred. It’s time for me to learn, and I feel that books and solitary practicing can only take one so far.

I now believe that it is necessary for wiser Wiccans to allot their knowledge to the next generation, not only in the form of books but to also take us under their wings. Teach to us, learn with us, lead us, speak to us and learn to know us. We are your future and the next generation of Witches and Wiccans. No I don’t mean go out and search for the first 13-year-old pentacle-toting teen you see, but don’t forget the of-age Witches out there!

So, where do I sign up? I’m ready and I’m here to learn. So poke me, prod me, see if I’m ripe; but give me a chance to see if I can call your coven home.

Hecatian Nights

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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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