‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for October 7th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

At these times when we have planned for something and have our hearts set on our affairs going in a certain direction but they fail to materialize, we are disappointed. If we have any faith at all, we must remember that one door never closes but another opens. That which once seemed the right thing to plan for may not hold all the things that would be for our good in the long run. It may have been right in the beginning, but as times passes and other events come into being, a change may be necessary for the benefit of the over-all picture.

Sometimes we affix our attention so rigidly on one thing, one part of life, one person, that a change throws us into a state of extreme disappointment. But disappointment, like all of the emotions, can serve to strengthen rather than take away. The attitude with which we face life can determine its outcome.

We can look with woeful eyes on the negative mental attitude and wallow in self-pity, or we can flip the mind to the upper side and let the positive mental attitude bring to us the strength and peace we need.

Disappointment is something no one has escaped. The many plans we make sometimes fade like mist in the sunlight. A cherished dream may take another shape and to lose that vision can throw a dim view on all of life. Because one tiny part could not be fulfilled, we are so tempted to let all of the rest go with it.

But if only we could wait a bit. So often we then come to realize the reason for our change in plans.

Sometimes disappointment is the very thing that keeps us mounting the steps upward, keeps us stretching our minds to understand. And it may test our spirits. For if disappointment can make a spirit better, the joy of accomplishment would have soon soured.

There is no joy in disappointment, but it may be the thing to save us from a life of mediocrity.

English novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton wrote, “Man must be disappointed with the lesser things in life before he can comprehend the full value of the greater.”

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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
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 7

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 7

“We have a biological father and mother, but our real Father is Tunkashila [Creator] and our real Mother is the Earth.”

–Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

Who really gives us our life? Who really gives us our food and nurturing? Who really allows us to be born? We are born through our parents who act as the vehicle of life for the Creator and Mother Earth. Our parents take care of us for a little while and when we are ready we must leave them and be faithful to our true Father, the Creator, and our true Mother, the Earth. Then we need to be of service to the Creator and be respectful to Mother Earth.

Great Spirit, thank you for being my Father. Teach me to honor the Earth.

October 7 – Daily Feast

October 7 – Daily Feast

We get to know ourselves when we are alone. What may have brought us to this place may not be as important as what to do now that we are here. When we are with other people we listen to them, but in solitude we follow our own way. Great strength comes from the quiet and it prepares us for times when the sands run very fast. Solitude is never withdrawal but being with ourselves, learning what affects us, and what of it can be given to others. We learn how to be a good friend when our attention is not divided – a good friend to ourselves and a good friend to another who needs it.

~ It is hard to fight people that live like groundhogs. ~

TECUMSEH – SHAWNEE

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

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Daily Motivator for October 7th – Love this day

Love this day

Love this day and it will be good to you. Treasure this opportunity to  experience life, and the experience will be beautiful.

The progress you seek does not always come in the ways you thought it would.  Yet when you seek, and persist, and expect it, that progress does always  come.

Don’t let yourself become too troubled by the troubles. Remind yourself to  take it all in stride, and you will find great value and richness along the  way.

Go forward with clear and positive intentions, seeking to make a beneficial  difference for all. In whatever may happen, you will discover new ways to  further your authentic purpose.

In its every aspect, life is predominately the way you consider it to be.  Consider it to be unique, precious, miraculous, filled with opportunity and  abundance, and give each moment of your reality a positive flavor.

Make the decision to love this day, this place, this moment, this special  experience of life with the people around you. And there will be so very much to  love.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

Daily OM for October 7th – Expanding Their Vision

Expanding Their Vision

Nine Ways to Help Others Awaken to Consciousness

by Madisyn Taylor

 

By simply being yourself, you can help the people in your life see a living example of consciousness.

 

1. Living by your values allows you to become a positive source of inspiration for others. Don’t hide express yourself and embrace life without reservation. By simply being yourself, you can help the people in your life see how one person can make a difference by being a living example of consciousness.

2. When you communicate your views, do so casually and in a nondogmatic manner. Allow the people you speak with to ask questions. Offer only as much information as they are ready to hear.

3. Igniting the spark of consciousness can be as easy as giving someone a gift. A favorite book, a medicine bag, or a beautiful gemstone can pique your loved ones curiosity and prompt them to begin an exploration of the soul.

4. Teaching a friend, relative, or colleague to meditate or chant can put them on the path to consciousness while simultaneously reducing their stress levels.

5. Others may want to know more about living consciously but are unsure of how to begin. Starting a discussion group even a virtual one can help you reach out to individuals that are eager to learn.

6. By recognizing and acknowledging the inherent value in everyone you encounter, you can teach them how to value others. Sometimes, the easiest way to encourage people even challenging ones – to respect others is to respect them first.

7. Invite people from your personal and professional lives to join you in attending a ceremony or ritual. The experience may touch them in a profound way or introduce them to a new spiritual path.

8. Casually point out the interconnectedness of all living beings using concrete, everyday examples. Many people are unaware of how their actions affect the world and are intrigued when they learn of the power they hold.

9. Introduce your loved ones to conscious living in a lighthearted and enjoyable way. Serve delicious organic recipes at gatherings, volunteer as a group, and show them how wonderful it can feel to be truly aware and connected to the universe.

Daily OM

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

What Witchcraft Means To Me

What Witchcraft Means To Me

Author: allisjames

So what does witchcraft mean to me? Wow. What a question. Is there an easy answer? No! Witchcraft is beautiful and complicated, mysterious and wonderful. For some it is all about the gods and goddess; for others it is about spell-work and ceremony; and for the rest it is just the flavor-of-the-month religion or practice.

Is Witchcraft a religion, or is it a practice? Is Witchcraft different then Wicca?

Wicca, we know, came into being somewhere between the 1930’s and the 1950’s via Gerard B. Gardner. Yet history blooms with stories of witches, brooms, black cats, and spell-work. People were burned as witches in both England and America. The monotheistic religions had a hard time with anyone who believed in other gods other then their own. Apparently, Jesus dying on a Roman stake was not good enough for the Western church – more blood had to be spelled.

But every society seems to have had some kind of equivalent to the witch. They may have been called Shamans, witch doctors, gypsies, maybe even grandmother herself. Whoever the healers were in society – the psychic, the spiritualist, the herbalists- you had the makings of a witch. And witches were not exactly liked by the church.

Gerard Gardner brought witchcraft back to mainstream society after the last laws banning witchcraft were repelled in England in the 1950’s. He reintroduced ‘The Craft’ to the world with his book ‘Witchcraft Today;’ a book published in 1954.

My initial introduction to the Craft was through a 1960’s TV show called ‘Bewitched, ’ a comedy about an American witch who married a mortal man. Throughout the show we were introduced to covens, rituals, magic, wands, warlocks, Sabbats, and spell-work. Even though a lot of the show was based on false premises (witches being immortal) , the show was on-point with true witchcraft in many ways.

In the 1980’s I came across a book by Erica Jong called ‘Witches.’ This was a coffee table sized book loaded with text, pictures, and poetry explaining Witchcraft. I devoured this book like no other. Erica Jong crafted a very fitting tribute book to a religion she never claimed to be party too. But her involvement in the neo-pagan life style is evident from reading her books and interviews. Erica’s views on sexuality and religion are very close to my own views.

To put it bluntly – I was drawn in.

In 2004 I became a member of Unity Church of Fredericksburg, VA, USA. This church was strong on the Father/Mother God concept, the unity of all things, meditation/yoga, and the divine in all of us. By 2005 I was examining, via the Internet, Wicca or Witchcraft. I started taking a course on Witchcraft through http://www.magickaschool.com. I was also hobnobbing with different witches in the local area where I lived. I did complete one course on the Introduction to Witchcraft through magickaschool.com, and still have a little ways to go on course number two. I am also involved somewhat in the Northern Virginia Witches and Pagans Meetup Group.

After a year of being homeless, I find myself once again drawn to the magick and mystery of this Path. I am reading books on the subject, meditating more, and enjoying the outdoors more. I especially enjoy watching the moon at night going through its many phases. Currently I am reading books by Raymond Buckland and Deborah Lipp. I am also learning The Hidden Path divination cards by Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Taylor, with artwork by Mickie Mueller.

As a pagan/witch/wiccan I am no longer restrained by the shallowness and limitations of the Christian Church. I will put down no religion, but my calling seems to be more metaphysical then revelation based. I believe strongly in the line from the movie ‘Inherit the Wind’ where the defense attorney, played by Spencer Tracey, said regarding the Bible – “The Bible is a good book, but it’s not the only book.”

The path of Witchcraft is an inward path and a mystical path. In a way all spiritually minded people are witches – we all believe in some divine being, we live by some code of law, we believe in the concept of magic/miracles, and we all reach for inner transformation.

I am a Witch because I can be nothing other then a Witch. I can’t twiddle my nose like Samantha in Bewitched and cause magick to happen. It doesn’t work that way. And it’s not about that anyway. Witchcraft is about inner transformation, empowerment, magic, and ultimately LOVE. We love, not by judging and condemning, but by understanding and appreciation. All life is sacred because all life comes from a divine source. That should be the heart and soul of any religious path.

Witchcraft satisfies an inner hunger like nothing else. It is a lifelong study and practice that draws me closer to the god/goddess, keeps me open for all sorts of possibilities, and makes me a channel for light and magick. I feel more at home in this vast universe, and more appreciative of life in general. As I celebrate the Sabbats and esbats, I also celebrate the seasons and learn to adapt to each one. No matter what season, I can follow the moon as it waxes and wanes through each of its cycles.

My spiritual journey began with my introduction and acceptance of the Christian path. But even then I knew there had to be more. And there was: Buddhism, Hinduism, Shamanism, Voodoo, The Golden Dawn, Freemasonry, Gnosticism, and Cabbala, as well as the historical evidence of goddess worship spanning way back into the Old Testament periods.

Witchcraft, in one form or another, has always been here. I embrace it with open arms freely and in sound mind and body. The more I read and study the Craft, the more I am drawn into it. Coming out of the sixties, Witchcraft appeals to me because of its Nature based emphasis, its emphasis on the sacred in everything, its openness to change and its encouragement to grow on whatever Path you are on. Somehow, the idea of celebrating the Goddess out in the openness of nature – singing, chanting, dancing, (skyclad or not) , under an open sky, or under a full moon, appeals to me. Celebrating Nature, and not just theological dogma’s, is what worship is all about.

When I see the full moon in the sky now, I feel like I am walking on sacred ground. The earth is my Cathedral and the Divine is everywhere. I don’t have to worry whether I am theologically sound, or politically correct – it is just me, the goddess, and Mother Nature creating energy and magick through each season, through each rising sun, and through each phase of the moon.

What does it mean to be a Witch? Everything!

So mote it be.

Footnotes:
My personal journey from Christianity to Witchcraft.

Who Inherits Your Knowledge?

Who Inherits Your Knowledge?

Author: Lady GoldenRaven

Here is a thought: For us older wytchs, have you ever thought about who you will pass down your wytchy items to when your time comes to cross over? By the time we hit our “golden years”, most of us have amassed a rather large collection of books, articles, herbs, oils, etc. So where does it go?

We have thought about how we divide up the money we leave for our children, which one gets the house and this one gets the car. But, has anyone given thought to the wealth of knowledge we have put into our Book of Shadows?

Who gets the special oils you created? What becomes of the beautiful staff and wand we created with our own hands?

Do we leave our sacred Book of Shadows to our covens?

Is there a special child or friend who will use this information wisely and keep its secrets to themselves?

Has anyone thought of donating them to the military or some other organization?

Will they find their rightful owners or will they end up in the trash or floating around space with all the missing socks.

As I approach my Crone years and since I have taught many students in the ways of the Wise, I have often thought about leaving my stuff to one of them. However, several of my students have been online. It would be hard to leave my trusted Book of Shadows to any of them, since I have only had little contact with them. So, that leaves the students I taught in person, who are now either in my coven or have moved on.

However, I am lucky. I recently met a woman who is 25 years old. She and I have become really close friends. She had several pagan friends (who are also my friends) who had taught her a little bit about their path.

She calls me Mama Beth, since I am older and she can talk to me about things one cannot talk to about with her real parents. Since I have no children of my own, she is now my adopted daughter. She is serious about her learning of the craft, so I am now teaching her my ways.

I thought long and hard about whom would be heir to my wytchy fortune. I do not own a home, so all I have to pass along is my wytchy stuff, my Led Zeppelin/Robert Plant collection, and my car.

All that has been decided. And now, I have made my decision as to where my Book of Shadows and the rest of my stuff shall go. My daughter shall be heir to all I have in my Wytchy World. I have such a huge collection of books on the subject that is would fill two walls!

I started thinking about this when a friend of mine nearly died a few months ago in a terrible accident. I put much thought and many hours of thought into this decision. Once I decided, I made my intentions clear.

When I told Debbie of my decision, I thought she would never stop crying. She was happy yet sad. It was something she did not want to think about.

Well, nobody wants to think about such things, but you must. She is the only one allowed to even touch my Book of Shadows, let alone look in it to read from it. She has come over for her lessons on time every time. She is learning the Craft well. Most of all–I TRUST HER.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I surely do not want my Book of Shadows, which I spent many hours working on, ending up in a dumpster somewhere. I wrote every word in that book in calligraphy. If anything, it is a piece of art. For one, I have the fortune of having bought a grand Book of Shadows from a great company called Brahm’s Bookworks (link enclosed at the end), which is like the one you see on the show Charmed. Mine weighs over 30 pounds. Now you see why I do not want it simply dumped in the trash.

Who do I know who would appreciate this? My daughter!

Where will the hundreds of jars of herbs end up? Herbs that I lovingly planted, nurtured, and harvested. I have many bottles of oils which I have made, not to mention the holistic medicines I have made from all the above.

My staff, which I lovingly hand picked, designed by me for me, blessed and consecrated and has become a part of me, I do not want to end up in a burn pile somewhere as trash. If, my daughter chooses to burn it in memory of me so that none can use my “magickal” staff, then so be it.

A few of my friends may end up with a few things–some of the herbs and oils and such. My stones and all I promised to a friend who also makes jewelry. So he can use what he wants for wytchy works and pick what he needs for jewelry.

Of course, some things, I can leave to the world via the net. Some of this I have accomplished already. But face it, out in the world of Cyberspace, one cannot be too sure of who they are dealing with. A lot of my stuff is found and will be found as I continue, on Pathways Seminary.

But, I thought I would offer up this little essay as a reminder to all not to forget about whom you will leave your most precious Wytchy wears to. Since the baby boomers are now into their Crone years or close to it as I am, there are a lot of us pagans who belong to this age group.

So while you are sitting there, making out your wills, reserve space and time to have it in writing, to whom you are passing down your religious and magickal items to. I know, whomever ends up with them shall appreciate both the deep thought you put into giving it to them, as well as appreciating the work you did, and all the knowledge contained within these items.

I am happy that I know where my knowledge is going to be used and appreciated.

Thank you,
LadyGoldenraven

Footnotes:
Link to Book of Shadows:  http://www.brahmsbookworks.com/id2.html

White-Washed Witches

White-Washed Witches

Author: BellaDonna Saberhagen

Witches are good. They were the great priests and priestesses of the “Old Religion” that everyone turned to in times of need. They were healers and seers, guides and advocates. It was only when the big bad Christians came and burned the Witches (nine million women, to be exact) that they were seen as bad, malevolent, evil things seeking to destroy all that was good and holy. Christianity maligned the good people of the earth, demonized the gods, and spread the hatred and fear of Witches that survives until this very day.

The above sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s what many Pagan authors believe and would like their readers to believe. The only problem is, it’s not true. It’s rewritten history. Every bit of it. If we’re to grow beyond the haphazard anthropology of Margaret Murray, we have to accept that. Many Pagans do accept that (most Pagans by now, I would hope) ; but there is one part of it that seems to be ignored: that Witches are good, and in fact MUST be good.

Historically, often the opposite is true. I’m not speaking of Celtic or even Norse tales; one can argue that since they were not written down until after Christians took over their respective regions that they may well have been changed to suit Christian morality. However, the Greeks had tales of witches that far pre-date the Christian take-over, and even these do not paint witches too kindly.

Medea was a princess well skilled in magic. In the tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece, she plays a key role. Hera takes an interest in the success of the mission and asks Aphrodite to have her son Cupid strike Medea with love for Jason so that she would be willing to help him with her “dark knowledge.” Medea’s father was King Aetes, the keeper of the Golden Fleece. After being struck with love for the enemy of her father, Medea considers killing herself with one of her deadly potions rather than betray her father or her love. However, she decides to betray Aetes and help Jason, which sets the tone for future actions. She gives him a balm that makes him invincible for a day and tells him how to win the trial her father has set before him to win the Golden Fleece. After the trial is won, she learns that her father has no intention of honoring his bargain and handing over the Fleece. She tells Jason of this and he and the Argonauts steal the Fleece and take her with them as they flee. During the pursuit, Medea is responsible for allowing the Argonauts to escape by causing her brother’s death; either by asking him to rescue her and sending him into a trap or by cutting him into pieces herself and forcing her father to stop pursuit to gather the remains of his dismembered son.

Upon arriving home, Jason finds that his father, the rightful king, was forced to suicide by the evil Pelias (the entire expedition for the Fleece was a bargain made between he and Jason, if Jason could bring the Fleece, Pelias would relinquish the kingdom back to its rightful ruler) . Jason needs to bring Pelias down and again turns to Medea. Pelias is an old man, so Medea approaches his daughters with a magical way to make the old young again. She cuts up an old ram in front of them, puts the pieces in a pot of boiling water, says a charm and out springs a lamb. That night, the daughters happily cut their own father to ribbons in their effort to make him young again. Jason becomes king. Medea bears Jason two children, but he does not marry her. Instead, he marries the princess of Corinth in order to gain that kingdom as well and forces her and her sons to leave his realms because she threatens harm to his new wife and he has seen what she can do. In exile, Medea sends a poisoned garment that kills Jason’s wife. Once Jason finds out, he threatens to sell his sons into slavery, so Medea kills them herself so that they would not be so tortured and shamed; then she escapes as Jason curses her.

While some of her magic may have been for what she saw as good, she certainly did not live by the codes modernly associated with Witches. She was a Witch, but not a good Witch. Her early magic may not seem so bad, helping Jason to win the Fleece through the trial; but she had to betray her own family to even go that far and that was certainly seen as evil in those days. Circe was a “most beautiful and dangerous witch.” She turned every man she came upon into a beast, but with a human mind so that they remained conscious of their predicament. When Odysseus sent a scouting party out to check the island, she turned them into swine, save one who got away and ran back to tell his captain. Odysseus went alone to face Circe, having been given an herb by Hermes to prevent her magic from affecting him. That he was able to resist her magic sparked Circe’s romantic interest and she freed his men and told him what he must do next on his long journey home.

In another tale, Glaucus sought a love potion from her to make the woman he desired love him. His story made Circe love him, but he was not interested. She decided it was the fault of the woman for which he longed. Circe turned this woman into a monster that destroyed all that tried to get close. Her name was Scylla; she became a monster that different sea-farers worried about in several tales. She was another Witch doing evil things, possibly in the name of love, possibly for her own selfish aims.

The concept of Witches as evil is older than Christendom. These tales prove this. In fact, the idea of Witches as good is more modern than many would prefer to believe. The book, The Wizard of Oz was banned in some places for daring to have good Witches in it. Even Leland’s Aradia has Witches doing bad things (the age of this text is up for conjecture, I date it to Leland, since his claimed source was never heard from again; others consider it to be based on a much older text) . Aradia is told by her mother: “And thou shalt teach the art of poisoning, Of poisoning those who are great lords to all; Yea, thou shalt make them die in their palaces; and thou shalt bind oppressor’s souls; and when ye find a peasant who is rich, then ye shall teach the witch, your pupil how To ruin all his crops with tempests dire (…) And when a priest shall do you injury By his benediction, ye shall do to him double harm and do it in the name of me, Diana, queen of witches all!”

I find that Leland’s Aradia states that Witches should out-right harm those who oppose them (and even those simply better off than they are) very interesting since some of his writings were clearly taken and applied to some forms of modern Wicca. The Charge of the Goddess as written by Doreen Valiente states, “Whenever ye have need of any thing, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of She, who is Queen of all witches. There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will She teach things that are yet unknown. And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites.”

From Aradia: “Whenever ye have need of anything, Once in the month, and when the moon is full, ye shall assemble in some desert place, or in a forest all together join to adore the potent spirit of your Queen, my mother, Great Diana. She who fain would learn all sorcery has not won its deepest secrets, then my mother will teach her, in truth all things as yet unknown. And ye shall be freed from slavery, and so ye shall be free in everything; and as the sign that ye are truly free, ye shall be naked in your rites.”

I only hope Valiente gave Leland credit and did not just outright plagiarize him. This piece is clearly taken from Aradia, but the morality taught in that book (what I took as proof of Witches doing bad things was from the very same chapter as the “Charge” was “borrowed” from) was discarded and the Wiccan Rede placed in its stead. Since, by what most modern Witches would prefer to believe, all Witches follow the Rede, there are no bad Witches; and if you believe Wicca is the “Old Religion” of Europe, there never were bad Witches.

This belief creates individuals who become indignant every time pop-culture and media portray Witches as anything but good. They cry everything from “Christian persecution” to “the patriarchy gets nervous about powerful women, so they have to make them evil, cruel and sometimes insane.” While these beliefs may not be baseless, it must also be understood that Witches are not always good, just as Christians are not always good, just as your five year-old is not always good. Witches are humans and as humans, we can make mistakes, get angry, be selfish, exact revenge and wish to protect our families and property at all costs. If modern Witchcraft really wants to strive to be one with nature, then we cannot go against nature. Nature is both destructive and creative, we need to be the same or we are unbalanced. It may well be true that “The Witch that cannot hex, cannot heal.”

I see the modern good interpretations of Witches to be like old B-rate horror day-for-night shots (outdoor scenes filmed in broad day-light with a filter over the lens trying to create the illusion of darkness and usually failing) ; they give the darkness lip-service but stay within the circle of their white-light lamp. Sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone to get in touch with reality; you might not always like the reality you see, but at least it is real and not a fantasy. The Witch as always good is just as much a fantasy as the Witch that is always bad.

Footnotes:
Mythology by Edith Hamilton
Aradia or Gospel of the Witches by Charles LeLand
The Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente

Where is Our Connection With Our Bodies and The Earth?

Where is Our Connection With Our Bodies and The Earth?

Author: Aarisa

Where is our connection with our bodies and the Earth, in ritual and in our lives?

It is my belief that we profess a religion that follows the Mother and Father, the Earth and Surrounding Energies, yet I seem to so often see such a disconnection. Connection with our bodies, the Mother Earth, the Seasons, even the rituals we perform seem to get put on the back burner, hidden behind flashy ritual items, robes, and vehement vows of our faith.

Now I am the most non-judgmental person I know, but I do make observations. At a recent Public Full Moon Ceremony that I attended, I found myself wanting after it was all said and done. The disconnection with the energy of our bodies and the rituals was obvious. Every one there, from the young children handing out seedlings to the ritual performers, all seemed very unhealthy. They read the ritual off in broken words from a paper, with no heart in it. When it came time for Cakes and Ale, they served Graham Cracker Bears and Hi C Fruit Punch.

So, lets start our conversation with the connection with our bodies, and the planet.

The junk foods and soft drinks that so many Pagans take home and chow down are detrimental to not only their bodies but also to our Mother. Way more than just what such a diet does to our bodies, the negative effects on the earth, from the way the foods were produced to the plastic packing they are served or sold in, are anything but ‘nature based.’ Everything that we put in our bodies affects us, and if our bodies cannot be healthy, how can we connect with ourselves, let alone with the Earth and our Community?

Who can call themselves a follower of the old ways when they get up, eat their McDonalds breakfast, come home and turn on the T.V and sit on the couch until they get up, put on their crushed velvet robes and perform a ritual, trying to connect with energies that don’t they incorporate into the rest of their lives? My like-minded friends have a joke about RC Cola and Moon Pies for Cakes and Ale but, my Gods, it happens so much. *

I certainly don’t feel a connection to ‘earth’ after eating junk food, do you? I certainly don’t think that eating food produced in ways that harm our Mother, and in its consumption harms us as well, is cohesive to our Earth-Based Religion. I’m not saying that everyone needs to be a health and exercise nut, but being a little more consciousness towards how we treat our bodies and the planet can be more powerful than any showy ritual.

Every holiday for us is about connecting with the seasons and the energies around us. We then take lessons from that and expand them. But let’s get back to the core… connecting with the seasons and the energies around us. (And that perhaps goes a bit deeper than eating hot dogs and hamburgers during Summer Solstice after reading from a printed-out ritual piece.) ‘Seasonal food’ does not mean food that America chooses to push out of a factory from any place at any particular time of year. It means what naturally grows in our/your local area at that particular time of year.

Our planet is in peril. The chemicals we are leaking into the world and that are in our food cause cancer, obesity, diabetes, and many other ailments. They are also killing the Earth. How can continuing to ‘live’ off of those things be cohesive to our religion? The very corn we eat now is being grown with pesticides already in them! The energies around us, those that we create, are so out of whack that I fail to see how we can make any real world change just by going through the motions of a ritual?

Lets move on to the reading part. I’ll admit that I have read off a ritual before. I was not happy with the results, and vowed thereafter to spend time not just memorizing, but knowing the ritual, and meditating on its meaning, connecting with the energies. When just reading off something, one does not grasp the meaning and depth of the words. There is then, no connection or creation of energy, and the ritual, in my opinion, is for naught. And really, how valid can a Priest or Priestess look when they read emotionlessly from a printed-out ritual?

Who here has gone to ritual where everything was read off of a piece of paper? How did it feel to you? Do you feel like the participants connected? Do you feel like you connected? If you did, then great! If you’re like me and like most people whom I talk to, then you felt as if the ritual was missing a key piece. That saddens me. I don’t want to go to ritual worrying whether or not the performing Coven will actually raise a Cone Of Power. Every person who is involved in the Craft should know his/her Craft, and know himself or herself, and therefore, know the energies!

So what has happened to our connection? The most powerful rituals are those connected with taking care of our planet and ourselves… the two things that we get most of our energy from. Wait…don’t we also get our energy from the people around us? Why, yes! We do! So what about their energy? Well, if they take care of themselves and the earth, then they are more connected, most likely. So there is more positive energy to draw upon!

Therefore, if we do the same, then we are making ourselves healthy, positive, connected avenues of energy for those that are around us! In conclusion, I say please…

TAKE CARE of yourself and our Mother!
CONNECT with yourself and our Mother!
HEAL yourself and our Mother!
CREATE good energy for yourself and our Mother!

Blessed Be!

Footnotes:
*PS- This is not a hate note for those who are “overweight”. It is about caring about your health. I know plenty of people who aren’t “skinny” but eat healthy.