'THINK on THESE THINGS' for August 13th

By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Two qualities so well liked in people are brightness and warmth, both parts of the sun. Sir David Brewster was a Scottish physicist of the eighteenth century. His study of the material world and its phenomena called the sun glorious, “the center and soul of our system, the lamp that lights it, the fire that heats it, the magnet that guides and controls it, the fountain of color which gives its azure to the sky, its verdure to the fields, its rainbow hues to the gay world of flowers, and the purple light of love to the marble cheek of youth and beauty.

What more beautiful qualities for any human being to possess than to have a soul at the center of its system, to light the appearance, to warm the feelings, to guide and control it through its colorful moods, and to let it rise as high as the azure skies and as wide as the gay world of flowers. But better yet, to be most beautiful with the purple light of love. What more to be given than the same qualities of the sun – by one Creator.

To live we need more than light, we need warmth. We need more than strength, we need grace. And more than all these we need love. There can be no greater joy than to see our respect for each other – the warmth and grace and love that bind together people in mutual concern.

Only when we can lay aside our personal feelings, our self-concern and worry of our own gain, can we join in true communion and fellowship with others. And to feel a sense of belonging is necessary to humankind.

It is the nature, not only to be liked and wanted, but to like and want others. And in this relationship find not just warmth but light, not only grace but strength, and in all of these find love.

“Walk in the light and thou shalt see they path, though thorny, bright; for God, by grace, shall dwell in thee, and God himself is light.” – BARTON


Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org

Elder's Meditation of the Day August 13

Elder’s Meditation of the Day August 13

“A bit of sunshine, a drop of rain, a puff of life from the Great Spirit as He gently breathed upon that spot, created the Native Americans. They were well formed and agile, copper colored and proud.”

–Harriet Starleaf Gumbs, SHINNECOCK

We are made in the image of the Great Spirit. A long time ago He breathed life into our ancestors. He made the Indian strong. He created a Warrior. Our ancestors created more warriors. We have been tested throughout the seasons and we are still here, stronger than ever. It is good to be Indian. We are proud of ourselves and our ancestors. Mostly we are proud the Great Spirit has never forsaken us, and continues to guide us.

My Creator, let me live my life today in a way that would make my ancestors proud. Let me remember each month that I am here to serve You. Today let me conduct my life in a way that also would make You proud.

August 13 – Daily Feast

August 13 – Daily Feast

There are right things to say and right ways of saying them, but many times we hit on a touchy subject because we were talking when we should have been listening. A casual remark that doesn’t mean much to us can strike a nerve in someone else. Even when we disregard other people’s feelings by saying they are too sensitive – it may be that we are too, in ge ya at hv na – careless or callous. Over the years we may learn how to make friends and how to keep them – and most of it is done by controlling our tongues. No matter how close we are to someone, it does not give us the right to say anything we choose.

~ You must not hurt anybody or do harm to anyone. ~


‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Daily OM for August 13th – Find a way to care

Find a way to care

Find a way to care about it and you’ll find a way to get it done. Make the  task meaningful enough and you’re sure to make it happen.

Don’t waste your time and drain your energy doing things you don’t want to  do. Put your effort into connecting what you must do to the passions that are  yours.

All your life you’ve been happy to do the things you truly want to do. So  instead of laboring against your desires, make the connection between those  desires and whatever you’re working on.

The tasks you enjoy and find meaningful are the tasks at which you excel.  Whatever you’re doing, remind yourself why it matters and you’ll find yourself  doing it with excellence.

Instead of complaining that you don’t care, frame the task in such a way that  you do care. Instead of assuming that your work is meaningless, be the one to  give authentic meaning to it.

Make the choice to enjoy and find fulfillment in everything you do. Not only  will you feel great, you’ll do great too.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

Daily OM For August 13th – Letting Your Voice Be Heard

Letting Your Voice Be Heard

Writing Your Story

by Madisyn Taylor

Writing your own story can provide an outlet which can help purge any frustration, anxiety, or long-dormant feelings.


Everyone, at one time or another, has wanted to express his or her story. Writing a memoir to read privately, share with family or friends, or publish is an emotionally satisfying way to gain perspective on your experiences and to share your unique voice. We’ve all experienced feelings and events in our lives that we are longing to write down. Giving into that urge also can provide an outlet which can help purge any frustration, anxiety, or long-dormant feelings. No one else has to read it. You may even want to write your story without reading it afterward and put it away to read in the future. Satisfying the need to tell your story is not predicated upon your writing ability. It does, however take effort to write down the truth in detail. Your memories, captured on paper as descriptive scenes, sights, sounds, and scents, may at first seem disconnected or incomplete. But rest assured that you possess the ability to shape your recollections into stories.

Writing your story is different from journaling. Everyone wants to be heard and know that they matter. Reading your story to others meets the human need to be heard. Writing your story helps validate your life. We all want to know that what we have to say matters. And when you finish writing, even you may be surprised at what you have accomplished. Your story can encompass as much or as little of your life as you prefer. You may surprise yourself with new insights, or you may find yourself exploring your roots, your identity, and your future through your words. Allow your writing to guide you and write as truthfully as possible. Don’t worry about what others will think of your personal journey, your style of writing, or your words.

Research has shown that writing a narrative filled with feelings and perceptions can create long-term health benefits. As you write, remember to express compassion and understanding toward yourself, particularly when writing about traumatic events. If you are a young person, you can add to your life story as you grow older. Your writing may even help family members know you better or understand themselves more. Most importantly, in writing your personal story, you are expressing yourself in a permanent way, giving a gift to your future self, and letting your voice be heard.

Walking The Path As A Public Witch

Walking The Path As A Public Witch

Author: Medea

I am a ‘public Witch’. The phrase means different things to different people but generally it means I am one who has come ‘out of the broom closet’. That has come to mean different things to me as the years have gone by.

I never was really in the ‘broom closet’. From the time I was introduced to The Craft by way of The Tarot at age eighteen, I was very open about it. Sometimes the openness was just for ‘shock value’. Sometimes it was just to be ‘different’. More often than not my openness was just a part of my personality. Like a puppy, I gleefully and playfully was just ‘me’ all over the place.

Now, at the age of forty-seven (can I really be that old?) and High Priestess in my tradition, I am still open about it, yet in very different ways. I rarely go for ‘shock value’ anymore (there are, however, those occasions when I cannot seem to help myself) . I have been a professional Nurse for twenty plus years and have learned in some instances the less said, the better. This learned, of course, the hard way. In many, many areas of my life I am much more tolerant and not so quick to take offense. I cannot attribute this to age or wisdom, as in many ways I am very immature and like it that way. It is a by-product of the path in which I have chosen to walk. One of the many, many gifts I receive.

I no longer feel the need to flash a Pentacle ring or necklace every chance I get. Most jewelry associated with the Craft and my religion are worn in private or under my clothes, close to my heart, as they should be. Yet, if I choose to wear such things in public (or forget to take them off) I make no effort to hide them, give no explanations, and make no apologies. My car is no longer adorned with bumper stickers proclaiming me ‘Witch’ or ‘Happy Heathen’. I didn’t take them off, but simply quit feeling the need to replace them each time I had to replace a vehicle. Yet I would not refrain from putting one on my bumper if it caught my fancy.

These days when I find it necessary or appropriate to speak of the Divine in general company I am as apt to say ‘God’ as ‘Goddess’ or ‘The Gods’. I have seen that getting caught up in nomenclature or schematics lessons somehow the sacredness of what one speaks of. If I am asked what Church I go to (a common question here in the South) I tell them. I don’t use flowery or holier- than -thou phrases such as ‘Nature is my Church’.

I say I am Pagan, if need be I say I am ‘Witch’, but more than that, I say I am a person of faith. And in some eyes I see the flash of recognition and in others I see distrust and incomprehension. These things no longer bother me. I am not meant to crusade. Neither am I, or my life, meant to be perfect. I can lapse in my old ways from time to time without being ‘lost’. I can make mistakes.

These days my Pentacle hangs on the lamppost in my yard. It hangs there for protection of my home and property as well as a nod to The Craft. It matters not who sees it and who does not. My home is Pagan and I call it a Temple House. It is where our rituals are mostly held. Where our classes are held. Where I sit and work on my computer on things that are important to the Temple. It is filled with altars which range from very simple to elaborate. Like all things, they change as they should, and I understand one does not need the trappings of religion to walk one’s faith. The house is lived in. It is welcoming to The Gods and Spirits I call, to my blood family and my Temple family and to visitors who come and go. It is meant to be welcoming to visitors of all faith and I believe for the most part it is. It is a work in progress, like the Temple itself. Like all things which grow and change. Like me.

I returned to the place I was born and raised after a twenty-year hiatus. It is a rural area in the Wilds of Tennessee, deep in the Bible Belt. It is a wonderful and beautiful place and the people are wonderful and beautiful too. Yet suspicions and prejudices linger along side traditions that smack of the Old Religion. I am known as a Witch and there is no mistake I am ‘the Real Thing’. At first I was humored, seen as a local girl who went ‘Out West’ and got some very strange ideas. There is often surprise when it is learned I was first introduced to the Craft in good ol’ Nashville, Tennessee. But here in the Wilds, Nashville, too, is a long way and there are many strange ideas to be found there. Maybe not as strange as ‘Out West’, but still strange.

When the realization came that this is not a passing fad for me, and that not only did I practice what I believed but ‘preached’ what I practiced the attitudes began to change. Family members and childhood friends, some I loved dearly and had missed for a long time, began to avoid me. Their attempts to ‘save my soul’ fell on deaf ears, and I took offense to being prayed for in Churches that I would ‘find my way and be saved’. They could not convert me, could not understand when I asked ‘saved from what?’ or said ‘I’m already saved’. And so I became a lost cause and to some a threat. There is no brand of persecution as scorching as that of those we know and love. My invitations to my home were unanswered by some. It became clear there were homes in which I was no longer welcome.

The Goddess does not demand sacrifice though at times it may seem so. I eventually came to understand that in order to have the things I found important in my life there were some things that by nature had to go. There is always grief, but as all things it passes and is, if not understood, accepted.

There were those who came and went. And there are those who stayed. Rituals of one became rituals of two and then three and then as many as fifteen at any given time. Others want card readings or advice or a little magick to ‘help out a situation’. Sometimes they are open about it and do not care who knows or what is thought of their association with me. Sometimes they come on the sly. I have learned to recognize those who come for a reason, such as the Goddess may have, and those who want what I can give and firmly believe me to be going to a Christian hell. There are those who do not care what becomes of me, but care about what it is I can do. Sometimes I still grow angry, usually out of hurt from the fall of one who I may have at some point respected. Mostly I do what I feel to be right and it has become very easy.

Inevitably the question will come from somewhere: ‘How did you get into that?’ that, of course, being Paganism or Witchcraft and sometimes thinly veiled ‘in league with The Devil’. I no longer feel the need to explain how Christianity never ‘felt right’ for me, implying of course I was somehow superior to that particular belief. These days I usually shrug and say ‘Like anyone of faith, I was called to it.’ This leaves little to argue about.

In my tradition today we celebrate Lenaia at the time of Imbolc, yet like so many things, the lines are blurred and the messages are the same. This Imbolc season I find myself taking stock and reflecting on many things about my life and the Path I walk. They, this life and this path, have somewhere along the line become one and the same. Perhaps it is the knowledge of having achieved this very thing, without setting out to do so or even hoping that I could, which is causing me to reflect. Perhaps it is my age, and the realization that, though I am not so old, I have most certainly lived longer in this life than I am going to live. It could be the weathering of so many changes over the last several years, some devastating enough to make me question my faith. Having come to terms with myself I have accepted many things I thought I could not. I can do this; accept these things, because at some point I began to trust that my Gods know what they are doing.

In January of 2001, I performed a solitary ritual outside in the yard at the old house my brother and I shared, divorced siblings clinging together in the changes of life. This was many years after I had picked up my first Tarot deck and felt the power of Otherworlds and the promise of mysteries revealed in them. It was cold and the Full Winter Moon rose high in a dark and starless sky. The moon was the color of ecru and its light brightened and dimmed with my incantation and my song. I had felt and witnessed the Power of the presence of the Divine before. I had seen first hand the workings of magick. Yet this was different. It was as if I were tapped on the shoulder. I had the feeling that Someone had finally gotten my attention. She had been waiting patiently for me to notice She wanted my attention. The voice I heard on the Wind, though the night was Windless, was real even though I could not make out the words. It was as if there was one voice, no, a thousand voices, and though the words were unintelligible I knew they said ‘Follow Me’.

I did not call the God and Goddess by name then, a last holdout of my Pentecost upbringing. They were to me The Lord and Lady. Yet I knew there were names, many names, and I would come to know Them. Although I became a Priestess of Hekate, it was Diana, the Huntress Mother, who called to me that night. I now know Her feel and Her smell and I recognize Her voice. When I hear Her name mentioned I see in my mind’s eye the silver disk floating in the Winter Sky. I often thank Her for calling me.

It wasn’t long after that I held my first private Imbolc ritual, as I have ever since, as I will continue to do. The day was sunny, bright, and cold. The kind of day that often depressed me. With stick incense in hand (patchouli because that is all I had) and the instructions from Scott Cunningham’s ‘Wicca’ in my head I picked my way through the thickets behind our rental house. I found a clearing and sat down, my nose running and the frozen ground pressing against my too thin pants for the weather. I meditated in silence, one thing I was only beginning to get good at. I sat there a long while, sometimes registering the sound of small animals in the thickets. Somehow understanding the sounds of the animals were gifts. I then told the Gods the things I have told them many times since:

I am Your daughter and Your lover. I give myself to You in this life and in any others to come. Set my feet upon the path You wish for me. Teach me the things I need to know. Give me the strength to learn them. I honor You and I love You. So Mote it be.

I meant those words the day I said them. And many times after, even as I wondered how hard this life has to get. I mean them now. The Gods listened and they knew I meant them and they have granted me the very things I asked for.

I love this life. It is at times messy and ugly, often chaotic, and on occasion extremely painful. It is equally interesting, comforting, and fun. And so there is balance. And so I am very, very blessed.

I love being Pagan. It is a wonderful thing to know what one’s path is and to be allowed to walk it. The Buddhist say ‘do the dishes for the sake of doing the dishes’. The clean dishes are only a result of doing the dishes correctly and wholeheartedly. Clean dishes are not the goal, doing the task well is the goal, everything else is, well, gravy. They say the same about the journey we call life. The journey is the point, the destination only the result of taking the journey well and wholeheartedly. Take the journey for the sake of taking the journey, walk the path for the sake of walking the path. Every now and then cast your eyes to the top of the mountain for a moment, but only a moment, focus on your goal, reassess your progress, make the proper adjustments, and get back to the task at hand.

In giving true love for the sake of giving true love, I have been given the truest of love. In giving friendship for the sake of giving friendship, I have received friendship. In being faithful for the sake of being faithful, I am given faithfulness. In giving mercy and kindness and justice for the sake of giving mercy and kindness and justice, I have received mercy and kindness and justice far beyond that I ever expected. In teaching the things I know for the sake of teaching the things I know I have been taught. And such fine teachers I have.

I walk the Pagan Path and the Path of the Priestess (and yes, Witch) for many reasons but mainly because it is my journey, what is put before me to do. It is an awesome task, an honor, and a door to many fleeting moments of happiness, which add up to a joyful life when all is said and done. Sometimes this path of mine is walked on nothing but faith because all else seems to elude me. Yet that which eludes me becomes mine if it is meant to be, and though I question and rail against the way, I am committed.

Along the way I catch the most peaceful sunrises, beautiful sunsets, healing breezes, and mighty storms. I am taught humility; I am reprimanded, led gently back when astray, and kicked hard when I need it. I am loved unconditionally and I know this without a doubt. I neither fear Death nor look for it, waiting for the rewards that I think might be my due. My rewards are many, and they are now. I may at times dread the act of dying and wonder if I will be granted a merciful death or if suffering at the end of this life is part of my lesson and task. Yet I trust that I will have what is needed for me and what is in the end the best. And I will not make that journey alone.

Those who have gone before will welcome me. The Gods will guide me and the Lady Hekate will walk with me as She always has. Cunningham pointed out that there is a difference in believing in something and knowing something. Many of the things I thought I believed I have come to know. To know a thing to be true is to accept it without having to understand it. There are many things I do understand and many things I will someday understand. But knowing, that is something that is not given lightly. It cannot be earned or bought; it can only come from walking the journey and walking it with an open heart and a willing soul.

I am one of many who aid this Phoenix we call Paganism to rise. My voice is among the silent ones who roar their presence into this world in this time. Our books and our Temples were burned and like so many things, though the way could have been easier, it had to be. Our Temples stand in our hearts and in our souls, in our country homes, and our suburban yards, in our small apartments in sprawling cities. This wonderful thing we call the Internet weaves us together across many, many miles. We have new books with words from Powerful hearts. We have remnants from the past which survive and which are important yet unimportant and therefore kept in perspective. We have the new and the old in which to learn and to build from. Balance. As it should be.

I am parched with thirst, and perishing,
But drink of me, the ever-flowing spring on the right (where) there is a fair cypress.
Who are you? Where are you from?
I am a child of Earth and starry Heaven, but my race is of Heaven (alone)
— Orphic Lamella from Thessaly

Wash Your Spirit Clean

Wash Your Spirit Clean

Author: Ginger Strivelli

Purification, like everything in the dogma of Paganism, varies from Witch to Witch. Some magicians will not touch a ritual tool or prop until it has been ritually cleansed, and then will not let anyone else touch the item. Tarot Cards come to mind: Many people will only use a brand new “untouched” deck; this always perplexes me as it is no doubt that someone touched them in manufacturing them. Others do little to no cleansing of anything, using things as found, and trusting in the Gods, or karma or whatever “good” forces to protect them from any negativity that the item might have picked up somewhere along its way into their hands. As always there is no “right” answer on the question of whether purification is necessary or just a bunch of pomp and circumstance that is ultimately not needed.

I have learned myself and taught my students to trust their own intuition on the matter of cleansing and purification. If something, someone, or they themselves “feel” contaminated to them then I suggest they ritually purify; if no negativity is sensed and they do not wish to perform a cleansing rite then I suggest none is required.

Often people or items need purifying after some negativity arises as alas, it often does in life, even if one did originally purify before. So the question of if purification or cleansing is needed is an on-going debate for the Priest/ess rather than a one-time event. Even the most well cleansed and protected item (or person) can become re-infected with all manner of physical, emotional, psychic, and magical pollution. So purification can and should be repeated as needed.

But once one has decided if, when, why, and how often to purify…then one must consider how to do so. There are many ways of course. Various traditions and various paths have set rituals to do cleansing rites. Various people have personal rituals to purify or cleanse. As always there is no right way, only the way that is right for each person. Personally I find ancient rites and spells powerful because of their history and traditional use. One of my favorite purification rites for a person is based upon an ancient Cherokee ritual of “washing your spirit clean.” This is done by a simple prayer rite, often repeated in various sacred sites…the ocean, the mountains (during the rain or in a waterfall’s mist), the river, a sacred well or spring, an ancestral burial ground (during a rain storm). This is accompanied by a literal washing in the water of the site. A prayer is recited at each time and place, asking for the negativity to be cleansed from the body, mind, and spirit. A simple prayer stating your appreciation for the lesson, but that you are ready to wash your spirit clean of the negativity is required. One could compose their own appropriate incantation of course, or you could use a more traditional prayer in Tsalagi (the Cherokee language) such as the one I’ve compiled below:

Ga-li-i li-ga go…Thankful for the lesson
Hi nv-ga-la Ja da-nv-do…I wash my spirit clean.

Another favorite personal spell from my Book of Shadows is called “Crying with the Gods” and is used to cleanse the heart and soul of damage. It can only be performed during a rainstorm, so it is not an ideal prescription as it is not an immediate “cure.” Though of course rarely is magic either a “cure” or “immediate.” The spell is very simple but very powerful. You go out to sit in the rain without a raincoat or umbrella or such as you want to be soaked completely by the rain. Allow yourself to cry “with the Gods” for all your pain and sadness…expressing it all fully with utter abandonment of any false show of control and acceptance.

Personal purification can also be performed with meditation, drumming, chanting, dancing, even dreaming or divination. I prefer ritual baths and washing for their literal magic, but any number of other methods can be employed as well. These rites need not be mandated at any certain times…but instead performed as the person feels it is warranted. Overuse of such rites tends to decrease their power making the rite more routine and less magic. So I suggest such serious cleansing rites be saved for serious needs. For simple daily or pre-magic work purification I suggest something such as a salt circle being sprinkled around one or a blessing incantation, such as the ancient crossing self-blessing rite that was adopted by the Hebrews and then the Catholics. The ancient incantation – whose translation is a matter of debate – goes:

“Ateh malkuth ve-ge-burah ve-ge-dulah le-olam”
(As one crosses themselves touching forehead, then heart, then each shoulder, then back to the heart.)

Another ancient powerful incantation of blessing, purification, and charging is the Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram, which means “the 1000 names of Vishnu.” The 107-line poem recites the 1000 names of the Hindu Preserver God, Vishnu, and the reciting of this chant is a rite to cleanse the body, mind and soul. This sort of listing of the names of the divine can be therapeutic, and can be done with other Gods as well. The text of this chant is too long and detailed to include here of course and likely hard for any non- Hindu to recite. Nonetheless a shortened version of just the “first 13 names of Vishnu” is a workable variation that is worth learning and using by anyone due to its awesome history and mystical power. It is as follows:

Muktaanaam pararnaa gatih

For purifying objects, one can also use ritual washings. I use rainwater or water from my sacred spring collected without it being touched by human hands. This is kept in a special bottle upon my household altar and all magical items are cleaned only with this, then dried in the light of the Sun God, or Moon Goddess. However, purification of objects can be accomplished in other ways. Smudging is a common purification rite where the person or item is “washed” with the smoke of a sacred herb, most often sage or tobacco. People often also use wind, sunlight, moonlight, river water, or other elements to purify items. You can bury an item in the ground for a prescribed number of days to purify it by earth or suspend it a rushing river or in a tree or such to be cleaned by the wind. Also an item can simply be placed in the sunlight or moonlight (or both) for a prescribed amount of time. All of these techniques work well, particularly if the magician believes in the rite, as always magic works “only and always if you believe it will.”

It is important to remember that negativity is present in all things and people at all times. One cannot be completely free from it; however one can try to keep the worst of it washed from them. It is important that one try to keep themselves and their ritual items and such from becoming toxic with the pollution of the outside world. This is best done by purifying themselves and their magical tools whenever they feel it is needed.


Voice of our Ancestors by Dhyani Ywahoo
Myths of the Cherokee by James Mooney
Wash your Spirit Clean – Song recorded by Walela
A Book of Pagan Rituals – Edited by Herman Slater
1000 Names of Visnu – Chant recorded by Shree Maa

What Does It Mean To Be A Pagan In Today's World?

What Does It Mean To Be A Pagan In Today’s World?

Author: Brid’s Closet

What does it mean to be a Pagan in today’s world?

I was sitting by my desk, thinking about topics for classes at my store. Many topics come to mind, but nothing seemed to “jump” out at me. I brought up this subject to a good friend of mine (who is not pagan), and she brought up this topic.

What does it mean to be Pagan? A “card carrying” PAGAN?

Many people are still very quiet about their choices in life, even to how they practice their religion or their form of spirituality. Many friends of mine are still in the “closet” about being a Pagan or being Wiccan. That is their choice, but not mine. I have the wonderful opportunity to be open about whatever it is that I do because I own my own business.

My sons also have choice as far as to what they believe. My oldest was degreed by me, because that was his choice, and I am proud of him because of that. My middle son considers himself to be agnostic (like his dad), but still is always looking. My youngest is still not sure as of yet. He takes in a lot, asks a lot of questions and is processing what he receives. They are fine young men, all of whom I am fiercely protective and proud of.

Some keywords that come into my mind are “love, strength, happiness, comfort, inner confidence empowerment, and honor”. Being a Pagan has helped to see that I have the ability to make a change in my own life, whether it is on a magical level or a mundane one.

A lot of people come into my store asking very similar questions, but what I do most of the time is to explain what I am not:

I am not a Satanist (the term “Satan” doesn’t exist in the pagan world.)
I don’t work or believe in the devil.

I don’t walk around in black clothes all the time (though it is fun sometimes!)

I don’t sacrifice animals…or use them in any rituals (my dog does like to run in and out of circle sometimes!)

I don’t bash other Pagan traditions.

I am not evil, nor is my spirituality evil.

I don’t run round naked, except in the privacy of my own room (maybe!)

I don’t have sex with others in ritual.

I don’t insult or blast other religions. People have done that for far too long in history to Pagans. I won’t do that to others!

Nope…don’t do the orgy thingy either!

What I do….hmmm…

I do honor Mother Earth. I see the earth as a living and breathing organism.

I do believe that all animals have a soul, and should be treated and loved as we expect to be loved ourselves.

I do try to live as “chemical free” as possible. This means that no chemicals or bug killers are applied to my lawn. 2 of my animals eat the grass on my lawn if the weather permits. No bleached flour, raw sugar, recycled paper. A friend of mine raises organically raised chickens, so I have organic eggs!

I keep as many trees as possible on the land that I am blessed to live on. Trees block the sun and keep your home cooler!

I do honor other people’s religions and their chosen paths.

I go love the Goddess and the God, as I would honor my own parents.
I try to use cosmetic products that are cruelty free.

I do try to grow my own herbs and vegetables when possible.

I recycle my paper, bottles, plastic and cans.

I do a full moon ritual once a month and celebrate the 8 holidays in the wheel of the year.

I guess I could just go on and on!

Once, a person came in and asked me why I was insulting myself by using the words “HEATHEN”, “PAGAN”, and “WITCH” to describe myself! In his teachings, he was taught that these words were an insult. He was shocked that I was proud of these terms!

The word “PAGAN” actually means “country dweller” or “civilian” or “peasant”.
1: Definition: Refers to any of the pre-Christian, (usually) polytheistic religions, or those who practice them. Wicca is one Pagan religion, as is Asatru, Santeria, Voodoo, or Shamanism.

The term “HEATHEN” is old English for Germanic paganism.
2: Definition: Among non-Pagans, the term ‘heathen’ just means anyone who is non-Christian. But Pagans use the term to refer specifically to those who follow a Norse or Germanic path.

A WITCH was known as a “wise” person, an herbalist, a midwife or a medicine person. (I’m an Alexandrian Witch!)
3: Definition: A witch is someone who practices witchcraft (either male or female), regardless of their religious standing. Not necessarily the same thing as a Wiccan (someone who follows the religion of Wicca)

These are words that I have come to embrace and be proud of. These words open up conversation and dialog, so that others will learn, understand and appreciate. Sometimes people appreciate the information that is given, other times, they don’t.

As a Pagan, I’ve raised 3 fantastic sons, have a “metaphysical” store that I share with my best friend, counsel people, rehabilitate birds, rescued a dog, a chinchilla and a bunny (who think they own my home!), teach classes, train special needs people (personal training) and in love with the most remarkable man.

What does it mean to be a “PAGAN”?

It means being a mom, a lover, a caregiver, councilor, herbalist, a cook, storeowner, and a woman dealing with today’s modern world who practices a very old way of worship.

Bernadette Montana is a very eclectic 3rd degree Alexandrian Priestess, a pipe carrier in the Sun Bear Native American Tribe, professional Tarot reader, a mom to 3 sons, one dog, 2 parrots, a bunny and a chinchilla and owns a metaphysical store named Brid’s Closet in Orange County, New York. Bernadette@bridscloset.com

Thanks to Terri Paajanen who posted the definitions of Pagan, Heathen, and Witch on the About website!

Terri Paajanen who posted the definitions of PAGAN, HEATHEN, and WITCH on the About website!

Daily Feng Shui News for Aug. 13th – 'Festival of the Double Sevens'

Today celebrates the ‘Festival of the Double Sevens,’ which is also known as ‘Chinese Valentine’s Day,’ a day that falls on the seventh day of the seventh month on the Chinese calendar. One of the most common and powerful Feng Shui cures to enact on this day is to place an image of the Dragon/Phoenix in the ‘Romance’ corner of your bedroom. Considered by this tradition to be the perfect couple, when paired together these auspicious celestial animals complement and support one another as true life partners. Therefore, joining them in that same romantic space can strengthen or even rekindle a relationship while also promising to improve and sweeten married life. But these beneficial energies don’t just bless existing couples only. If you’re single and looking for love, placing this image in the ‘Romance’ area of your living spaces will greatly increase your ‘marriage luck.’ This is the perfect day to call on this couple so that you too can become a part of a blissful one.

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

Your Charm for Tuesday, August 13th is Abracadabra

Your Charm for Today

Today’s Meaning:   

The most powerful of all talisman indicating you or someone close to you will recover from an infection.

General Description:   

One of the most famous of all talismans, and used as a magical formula by the Gnostics in Rome for invoking the aid of beneficient spirits against disease, misfortune and death. Sammonieus, the celebrated Gnostic physician; instructed that the letters of this magical triangle which he used for curing agues and fevers, were to be written on paper, folded into the shape of a cross, worn for nine days suspended from the neck, and, before sunrise, cast behind the patient into a stream running eastward. It was also a most popular charm in the middle ages. During the Great Plague, 1665, great numbers of these amulets were worn as supposed safeguards against infection.

Your Animal Spirit for August 13th is Green Man

Your Animal Spirit for Today
August 13, 2013

Green Man

Green Man peers out of the foliage to remind you that not all of life’s mysteries have logical solutions. Be open to magical opportunities, spirit allies, and unconventional paths. Get out into the wilderness, ground yourself in meditation, and listen for Green Man’s wisdom. You may just catch sight of him eyeing you in his leafy camouflage.

Today's Tarot Card for August 13th is The Emperor)

The Emperor

Tuesday, Aug 13th, 2013

In the most practical terms, what has traditionally been called the Emperor card represents the highest leadership, a head of state or the most exemplary and powerful person in the realm. This archetypal ruler is responsible for the positive working out of affairs of a society or community, which are directly proportional to his well being and happiness.

The more enlightenment and cosmic perspective this energy brings, the better life is for all. The Emperor archetype masters the world of matter and physical manifestation. When you apply this card to your situation, acknowledge your potentials for mastery. Reinforce a sense of sovereignty within yourself, despite any self-limiting beliefs, habits or appearances to the contrary.

In the most practical terms, what has traditionally been called the Emperor card represents the highest leadership, a head of state or the most exemplary and powerful person in the realm. This archetypal ruler is responsible for the positive working out of affairs of a society or community, which are directly proportional to his well being and happiness.

The more enlightenment and cosmic perspective this energy brings, the better life is for all. The Emperor archetype masters the world of matter and physical manifestation. When you apply this card to your situation, acknowledge your potentials for mastery. Reinforce a sense of sovereignty within yourself, despite any self-limiting beliefs, habits or appearances to the contrary.

Daily Horoscopes for Tuesday, August 13th

We may withhold our feelings if they’re too strong to express now that the Moon is visiting secretive Scorpio. Intense energies are already at play, yet we’re encouraged to delve beneath the surface and face hidden emotions. Meanwhile, mental Mercury is stressing ruthless Pluto to add power to our ideas. We are caught in a cosmic current that pulls us into unfamiliar waters and our words may get us into trouble if we say everything we feel.

Aries Horoscope

(Mar 21 – Apr 19)

You prefer to be in total control of your life; however, you need others to participate now, because they bring additional resources to your plans. Thankfully, you still can manifest your own destiny; you just have to use a bit of teamwork to reach your destination. Although it may be necessary to make changes to your original agenda, compromise works in your favor in the long run.

Taurus Horoscope

(Apr 20 – May 20)

It feels as if you are moving in and out of a dream today as you attempt to establish a connection point in the reality of your life. You are in an intense mode of operation and lost in your own thoughts. However, people in your immediate environment cannot be ignored, yet it also seems as if they don’t want to make your life any easier. Push past your discomfort and communicate; it’s better to know what you’re up against than to have your head in the clouds.

Gemini Horoscope

(May 21 – Jun 20)

There is a tricky situation developing and you need to separate out the big ideas floating around so you can dig into the specific problems. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to skate your way through this predicament. Ironically, if you set your feelings aside in order to deal with the volatility of the situation, things will work out better than you could imagine.

Cancer Horoscope

(Jun 21 – Jul 22)

Your passions need a creative outlet now as the tumultuous Scorpio Moon moves through your 5th House of Romance. You want to have fun without necessarily sacrificing depth of feeling on an energetic level. This means that your personal expressions have intensity, yet they won’t be overwhelming to others today. Your ability to gently uncover the motives of a close friend or partner allows you to share your emotions without risking too much vulnerability.

Leo Horoscope

(Jul 23 – Aug 22)

Today’s annoyances may blossom into tomorrow’s full-blown frustration unless you take care of managing your feelings in the present moment. But staying in tune with your emotions requires more attention than you want to give. Nevertheless, you can ease the pressure by facing whatever is sitting just beneath the surface and bringing it out into the open. It might not seem like a good idea at first, but your disclosure will relieve some of the tension and allow you to enjoy your day.

Virgo Horoscope

(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

It’s all about your unexpressed thoughts today as your key planet Mercury forms a tense aspect to controlling Pluto. Your biggest concern isn’t deciding what to share; instead, you must choose what you won’t mention. You might believe that it’s smarter to say nothing at all and just bury your whole story. Unfortunately, keeping quiet won’t work now because the truth will just slip out anyhow. Open the door to communication before it is too late.

Libra Horoscope

(Sep 23 – Oct 22)

The waters are growing choppier and the winds are picking up now. The keel on your boat has kept you fairly level, but you may end up on the rocks unless you’re extra vigilant. It’s challenging to tell if your ship is riding deeper in the water or if the water has become shallow. Either way, you must get to the bottom of the issue in order to reestablish your equilibrium. As you realize the value of what you bring to the situation, your vessel will surprisingly regain its proper attitude.

Scorpio Horoscope

(Oct 23 – Nov 21)

You are normally ready to dive headfirst into the emotional underworld and into your hidden dreams to visit your fears and insecurities when the Moon returns to your sign. But now, even your own inner guides may give you the silent treatment. It’s difficult for you to know what is real and what is illusion. It feels as if everyone around you is in a conspiracy to hide something — and they are all in on the secret except for you. However, don’t dig too deeply today. What you need to know will be revealed in due time.

Sagittarius Horoscope

(Nov 22 – Dec 21)

You may want to withdraw into your own little world by running away from your responsibilities; unfortunately, this is not a viable option at this time in your life. There are simply too many demands being made on you now. You’re responsible to think things through clearly — not only for your own benefit, but also for everyone else. Ultimately, you can do whatever is required in record time, but in your mind, you’re already enjoying your personal retreat.

Capricorn Horoscope

(Dec 22 – Jan 19)

You may be expected to do something for the group that you feel isn’t in your own best interest; understandably, this creates an awkward dilemma. You know what your long-term goals are, but have to set them aside for a bit as you fulfill previous commitments. Nevertheless, others continue to distract you with intense emotional needs and you cannot ignore them completely. The more you’re able to keep your mind on the practical side of things, the easier it is to perform your duties.

Aquarius Horoscope

(Jan 20 – Feb 18)

You don’t mind complexity; in fact, you’re often drawn to tricky mental puzzles and complicated concepts. However, you don’t like unresolved emotional issues as much. Unfortunately, there are weird power struggles now arising in your life, but you cannot yet tell where the tension is coming from. Secrecy only heightens the problem. The best thing you can do is keep as much as possible out in the open. The truth is the best defense against confusion. Initiating a friendly dialogue disarms even the toughest enemies.

Pisces Horoscope

(Feb 19 – Mar 20)

Your acute hypersensitivity might put you on edge today. You feel every wave in the sea of consciousness, and it may be a difficult task to know what to do with all these perceptions. Ironically, the emotional intensity can be so overwhelming that you choose to do nothing at all. Your key to making it through the day smiling is to concentrate on the small things and do them well. Leave the big picture for another day when you’re feeling more like yourself.