Let’s Talk Witch – Candle Magic

ᑕᙓᒪ♈ᓰᑕ ᙅᖇᗝᙡ

Candle Magic

 

Candle magic is the oldest magic there is. Early wise people concentrated on flames from cave fires to foretell the future or solve a problem. Staring at the flame was the perfect way to go into an alpha state and connect with the spirit world to see past, present and future details of someone’s life or the unfolding events of the village or community.

It is the simplest magic there is because candles are easy to find, and the ritual doesn’t take much work. The beauty of candle magic is that you can manifest just about anything you want to by concentrating on the flame and clearing your mind.

To begin, it is important that you do NOT eat before a ritual or have sex before a ritual. Be clear of body and mind, and spirit because it make the spell more powerful. It also helps that you begin your ritual with a positive mind. You must know and believe the outcome of the spell will be positive and beneficial to all.

Make sure your space is quiet, and clear of clutter. You may want to play soft music or take a cleansing bath with lavender or other aromas of your choosing to relax before you start your spell.

It is important to choose the color of the candle that corresponds with what you desire to manifest.

White = purity, peace, spirituality

Red = sexual vitality, courage, energy, health

Pink = romantic love, affection, friendships

Yellow = creative imagination, memory, communication

Green = abundance, harmony, good luck, fertility

Blue = wisdom, psychic insights, psychic protection, healing

Purple = success in financial affairs, idealism and spiritual power.

Gold = positive

Silver = clairvoyance, astral energies and channeling, also the faculty of far memory and remembering past lives.

Once you have chosen the candle you want to use for your spell, give it your personal vibration. Handle the candle with both hands, study the wax in it, look at it carefully and try to connect with your candle and give it your intention or thought. This gives the wax your life force. Use essential oil (not necessary but helpful) on the candle. Always rub the candle with the oil from the top to the bottom when anointing.

While oiling your candle think about what you wish to accomplish with this magic. Visualize the spell successful and see your desires manifest before you light the candle.

Then light the candle and focus on the flame for at least 5-15 minutes, clearing your mind of all thought and visualize what you want to manifest.

 

 

Ancient Magick for the Modern Witch

Gypsy Raven

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Get A Jump On Tomorrow, Your Horoscopes for Thursday, July 16th

 

 

 

 

Get a Jump on Tomorrow……

Your Horoscopes for Thursday, July 15th

 

Aries 

Aries Horoscope
Aries

Due to last night’s New Moon, home and family matters are in high focus, and new energy is with you to make improvements to these areas of your life, dear Aries. You might immerse yourself in family projects or home improvement activities. Family is more inclusive or you are more interested in setting things right. Later today, you could have a vague feeling that something is not right. Your perceptions may not be as reliable as they usually are, and reading too much into a situation may even get you into trouble. Avoid, as much as possible, spiraling thoughts and wrestling with regrets or recent decisions. You can feel out of touch. Even so, the Moon begins supporting your sign later morning, and this helps you to feel more alert, capable, and confident.

Taurus

Taurus

There are likely to be busy days ahead of you with a New Moon in your solar third house, dear Taurus. New energy is with you for connecting, communicating, and learning. Ideas can fill your head, but so can too much information. Some of your ideas will take and others may not, but don’t worry about the difference between the two just yet. There’s no rush. Plan to make warm and interesting new connections with people, be open to the idea that you need more intellectual stimulation in your life, and look for ways you can improve your approachability. However, watch for taking on so many things that you feel overwhelmed. Later today, a mildly difficult aspect between the Sun and Neptune can point to a feeling that others are draining you of energy or confidence, which can be the result of their negativity or simply your expectations of them.

Gemini

Gemini

A New Moon in your second house occurred last night, dear Gemini, and you are receiving wonderful energy for improving your finances and tending to your personal possessions. The impulse to buy something can be sudden and should probably be tamed just for now, until you get a plan in place. Ideas, and especially money-making ones, come to you with force and passion. Receive and enjoy them, and sort them out patiently as you go along. This can be the start of something special. Even so, later today, you may need to get over a temporary hump in the form of lack of confidence, a mental disconnect, or illusions related to money and work. Enjoy your imagination, but go slowly.

Cancer

Cancer

The yearly New Moon in your sign has just occurred, dear Cancer, pointing to a time for personal new beginnings. What you’d like to change, improve, or initiate is in your hands. You’re suddenly more noticeable and “out there”, and it’s a good time to ride this energy. It’s also a time for personal re-invention. You are always in charge of your destiny, but times like now, you really feel it. Confidence comes across well; excessive preoccupation with yourself doesn’t! People believe in you, and this only serves to motivate you further to present the best version of yourself. However, later today, watch for some self-deception, as you may not be seeing yourself and others very clearly. You mean different things to different people and this can confuse true understanding of yourself, or you may be giving off mixed signals. Treat any hesitance you might feel now as a chance to slow down and make adjustments.

Leo

Leo

Last night’s New Moon occurred in your soul sector, dear Leo, launching a cycle in which you are strongly inclined to take charge of personal and private matters that need your attention, or give more time to a person in need or an important cause. Buried or neglected issues can demand your attention, but for some of you, you may need to take on a supportive role in which you sacrifice some of your personal plans and goals, at least temporarily, in order to take care of or help out other people. You might take the lead on such a matter, or if you are the one who needs extra rest, then you’ll push for that. If you’ve been neglecting your psychic, spiritual, and emotional needs, then this is a time that forces you to acknowledge and tend to them. Later today, a minor difficult aspect involving the Sun (your ruler) in this same sector can leave you yearning for more and especially sensitive psychically. Try not to over-think things. Stick to the simple now.

Virgo

Virgo Symbol/Glyph
Virgo

Pay special attention to who you meet and ideas that come to you around now, dear Virgo. The New Moon that occurred last night energized your sector of friendships, networking, community involvement, new ideas, technology, and aspirations. What’s happening around the time of this lunation helps pave the way for personal changes and new beginnings. There can be new friends or associations with groups and people who share some similar interests or a common goal, or new beginnings with existing connections. A New Moon is about taking the lead and taking charge. Open yourself to the need for people in your life who offer you new perspectives, a change of pace, and some exciting variety to your daily life. Tonight, however, there can be some tendency to nurse an idealized image of someone or a plan. There can be a strong desire to believe in someone, but at the same time, fear that you’ll discover reasons not to. Try to avoid over-thinking.

Libra

Libra Glyph-Symbol
Libra

Last night, a New Moon occurred in your profession and reputation sector, dear Libra. Even if you’re happy in your position as it stands, there are always some tweaks that can be made to improve your professional and public life. New projects and goals, and possibly even a new area of focus on the job, may emerge in the coming days and weeks. Enter these with healthy confidence, not over-confidence. Take the time to plan, and act rather than react. You have more impact on others than usual, so use this time in the spotlight well. Later today, however, when it comes to practical matters, you just aren’t seeing things realistically. In fact, you can swing from pie in the sky to negative thinking, making it a less than ideal time for making big purchases and business decisions. Daydream rather than make solid plans just for now.

Scorpio

Scorpio Symbol Glyph
Scorpio

Your spirit to explore beyond the ordinary experiences in your life is powerful now and in the coming weeks, dear Scorpio. A New Moon occurred in your expansion sector last night, and this gives you extra energy and resolve to seek out new experiences on mental, physical, and spiritual planes. This can be a period for beginning new activities or projects that feed your thirst for mind-expanding experiences. This is a time of increased bravery and spontaneity. Later today, you may be dealing with mixed messages and minor irritations or delays. The tendency to act in conditioned rather than mindful ways is strong right now, and you would do well to identify these patterns so that you can step around them. Otherwise, it’s a decent day for daydreaming and fantasizing. Take things easy, and slowly right now.

Sagittarius 

Sagittarius Glyph Symbol
Sagittarius

Last night’s New Moon energized your sector of intimacy and sharing – a sector of your chart that’s making a lot of headlines these days! Now and in the coming weeks, dear Sagittarius, there can be a feeling of revitalization on a deep, inner level. This can be experienced in your relationship with yourself and/or in a partnership. Inhibitions can drop and there is more acceptance of the deeper side of your personality. Alternatively, you might have had enough of a bad habit, addiction, or superstition, and you are suddenly motivated to end it. It’s a time for getting rid of burdens, or sharing their weight with trusted others. You might decide to rid yourself of clutter or debt. You may be saying goodbye to a bad attitude or habit, or getting closer to someone who makes you feel better about yourself. Later today, there is a tendency for people to be indirect, which can be especially annoying to Sagittarians! It’s not the best time for healthy relating patterns, but consider that you might need some personal space.

Capricorn

Capricorn Symbol/Glyph
Capricorn

Last night’s New Moon brings you good energy for starting a new partnership or committing to a new way of enhancing a current relationship, dear Capricorn. Someone in your life could need more support or attention and you may need to put your own plans on hold. It’s time to strengthen your relationships, negotiate, compromise, and strike up deals. It can be a strong period for communications in one-on-one setups. Take in now, and take action when it feels right. If you need to take charge of a relationship issue, you’ll feel the energy to do so. Later today, situations and people may leave you feeling drained or confused. There is a vacillating energy tonight that is best handled by imagining or enjoying entertainment and art than for serious thinking.

Aquarius

Aquarius

You can be tempted and motivated to totally rework your daily routines now with the New Moon having just occurred in your solar sixth house last night, dear Aquarius. A new health program or fitness routine could be implemented now, or you could be doing a top to bottom reorganization of your workspace or home. Whatever gets you more organized and feeling in charge of your daily life is favored. A new project, work task, or even line of work can be on the table. This is an important time for clearing clutter, both physical and mental. Take advantage, but take it easy. Tonight, dreamy or creative activities can be nice detours from pressures.

Pisces

Pisces

You’re receiving a nice boost of energy that jumpstarts a cycle in which taking charge of your life is appropriate, dear Pisces, particularly when it comes to romance, children, creativity, and entertainment. This is a time for making improvements to your life that help restore balance. You are in need of quality leisure time and channels for expressing yourself creatively. Ideas for enjoying life’s more playful moments can come to you in a rush, or opportunities can suddenly appear, ready to grab. Even if your life seems crammed with things to do, you need to learn to make the most of the time you do have for enjoying yourself. Later today, you may be giving off mixed signals, but who can really blame you? It’s hard to project confidence and clarity if you’re not feeling these things inside. If you feel out of the loop, which is quite possible tonight and early tomorrow, hold off. Be easy on yourself.

The Power of Words

The Power of Words

Author: Kestryl Angell 

Recently, it is all over the news where celebrities are being “caught with their pants down” over racial slurs, backbiting remarks against each other, tearing at the fabric of the illusion of the “Peaceful American Community” that Hollywood is supposed to be so integral a part of creating in the framework of our society. Even within pagan communities themselves, a place where many claim to have found the first bit of peace in their spirit in their entire lives up to the point of their discovery of paganism grow more and more rife with stories of people that have, in their own way, attempted to serve their community and been shunned due to human mistakes or misunderstandings. America’s illusion says that Americans are supposed to be Keepers of the Peace.

But Americans, and in many cases humans in general it seems, have forgotten that there is Power in words.

I was trained in classical music from a very young age. Because of this training, my ears have been fine tuned to hear tone before I even hear actual words. As well, I have come to understand over the years the reasons why the Celts, the Native Americans and so many other cultures taught their deepest and most spiritual lessons to rhythm, dance and in rhyme. The cadence, the effect on the body, mind, heart and spirit, the effect on the chakras…all attribute pieces of the beautiful stained glass window of reality that is the Power of Words.

Everyone has had the experience, in or out of Circle, of feeling truly and deeply moved to their deepest self by a piece of music or poetry. The way a High Priest or High Priestess speaks a lesson, their tone and manner focused totally on opening the hearts and minds of their students that sets that lesson forever in the mind of those attending them or the way a Shaman or Medicine Man or Woman guides their patient through a Journey or necessary healing process to the rhythm of a Medicine drum, all are designed to not only speak the lesson, tell the journey…but to set it indelibly into the brain and memory so that we do not forget.

In the day and age when it was still dangerous to know the legal names of coven mates, knowing a single word—a name—could mean death and the end of entire family lines, no matter what guilt or innocence was the truth of their existence or beliefs.

Do you, as a magickal person, honestly believe that there was not a time when Words of Power were used far more frequently than they are now? Do you honestly believe that science fiction is the only place where something like Frank Herbert’s concept of the Voice, held in his works in the Dune series…where single syllables could be used to shatter bone, burst organs, bring down entire cities? If you truly believe this, look at the way that the cruelty of words spoken in haste can shatter families, permanently scar minds, hearts, souls and weigh heavily on our Karmic scale in the long run.

If we truly know that words have Power, this means that we must consider more carefully how we speak to and of each other. This is not to say that we should become completely unrealistic in the “sunshine” we spout, but rather we should speak the best reality we may into being.

Rather than simply wishing each other “Happy Holidays” a holiday season or wishing for “world peace, ” why not truly speak with clarity and vision the positives you see possible in this world. Instead of finding fault with a child’s grades or social performance, teach them pride enough in themselves, their families and their community that such things wouldn’t even occur to them as long as they have the academic support their personal learning curve requires.

Instead of “preaching” our faith or hearing only “preaching” in other’s words about their faith and beliefs this time of year, why not listen with compassion in your ears and find the commonalities with your own, sharing those with a smile and a warm heart (Merry Meet, Merry Part, Bright the Cheeks and Warm the Heart—from the long Wiccan Rede, sound familiar?)

When we speak of our faith, speak of what we ourselves practice—not just the history of those that died for our faith. Speak the beauty, not just the once-mysteries and mythologies. Speak the usefulness, the daily contact with Deity, the ways that the Universe reflects Its Infinite Wisdom and Complex Simplicity to you as an individual every single day, instead of finding the reasons to nit-pick your neighbors or their lives to death or place personal judgment on other’s lives for reasons of pride, ego or simple human differences of opinion.

Spend less time finding fault and more time finding blessings—no matter how small or unlikely the arrival or package they come in. Spend less time speaking poison, thus poisoning your own heart and spirit and drawing the same to yourself in the process—if you live by the Law of Three or other like law of balance in your system of beliefs. Sing praises over your own life and accomplishments instead of doubt that you’ll ever truly “get there.” Find places to smile each day instead of facing a list of stresses and duties alone with a sense of dread in your heart, mind and voice.

If your faith does not make your spirit smile enough to share something of its Light with the world around you, then my friend, you need some work on you first—and like the Christian Bible says, “Judge not, lest ye be judged” and “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

No man or woman is above another on the scale of the Universe—but all are on various levels of the spiral, all learning, all growing, all paying debts and moving up and either fast or slow, they are finding ways to make themselves and their world better. Some are just a bit further along in the process than others and those are our treasured teachers and Elders. Yet, all in life truly have something to teach if only you are brave enough to listen to the lesson when the package it comes in doesn’t seem pleasing to your senses at first glance.

Just as many mythologies tell stories of Gods and Goddesses taking the form of injured animals or ugly or deformed creatures to teach lessons to the ones they were in the story with, so too does the Universe often scream our lessons in that tone of voice that makes us wish we were deaf on every level or put them in a package we find so distasteful we might not stick around for the lesson itself, no matter how sweetly delivered from the distasteful representation—it is often part of the test the God/dess gives us, one that we commonly fail.

However, if we are open to the lesson, even when it is yelled or screeched or even when it is in the simple deafening silence of darkness, the power of words remains a truth that cannot be denied. Therefore, it is necessary that we take responsibility for our use of this magick in a far more active way than many often choose to keep on their everyday mouth and perceptions. However, as aware and ethical magickal folk, it cannot be said too often that awareness is only the first step.

There is a large difference, when working through life issues, in sharing your experience and speaking poison over the hardships of your past. There is a difference between sharing positive information that you have to share and insisting another must use the information just as you have in their lives or practice or it will immediately invalidate the information in your eyes.

There is a difference in speaking an honest disagreement with an issue or person and defaming them out of bruised ego, hurt feelings or mistaken sense of prideful or righteous indignation. There is a difference in realizing that shadow must exist for light to have its balance point, but when something already has a momentum of its own, it is not always correct for us to “add our two cents worth” to the engines by pumping our own poison into the process.

Not if we take seriously the idea that we will eventually reap what we sow.

If you are aware that the words you say and how you say them are like seeds in soil and what you bring back to you is the harvest of those words, think about the words you speak in a day. Do you speak brightly, positively, encouragingly to the world and your reality and those in it? Or do you speak doubt into your every sentence?

In your attempt to be a “realist” have you become a “pessimist” instead? When ill or in pain, do you speak the truth of the pain or issue and truly seek help or do you play it up for attention and shun any real assistance?

When you bring up a difference of opinion with someone, do you bring it up or do you attack him or her with it and then expect him or her to “understand, because they are your friend” and then become upset when they do not react as you expect them to? Do you take responsibility for your own expectations?

All these are examples of the places where the power of words is often simply forgotten or conveniently passed up in favor of the more instant gratification of a snap decision or reaction. Being Children of the Light, attempting in some small human way to be reflections of our Gods and Goddesses, do we honestly think that our Deity would speak in the poisonous terms most human beings use on one another every single day? If you do not know what I am talking about, read a newspaper or watch the evening news or an episode of Jerry Springer.

Insults, invasion of privacy, making jokes of infirmity or life circumstances beyond the control of the center of the joke, finding joy in other’s pain or thinking peace comes out of war are all ways in which even the words themselves can show us they are not what will draw us the most positive ends if the magick of words is truly something we understand and choose to manifest in our every day lives.

Instead of arguing how horrible it is that places like Macy’s and Wal-Mart Corporation are “forbidding” the Happy Holidays greetings in stores in favor of using a strict “Merry Christmas” (or “Happy Easter”) policy, why not try something different?

Of course it’s horrible they are denying others their holidays as well in society and putting forward such a prevailing discriminatory front to their business, but do we really need to RE-state the obvious? Why not plant more positive seeds instead?

Try, through this and every holiday season to give the gift of using a voice of compassion, a voice of sharing, a voice of joy, wisdom, peace and beauty.

Just share the joys of all of the various holiday seasons as you pass others at home, at work, at the store. And even if it is only in a few words, delivered with a smile, you can share a bit of this magick that is the power of words simply by planting the seed with a voice that says, “Have a Happy Holiday, whatever yours may be.”

See what harvests come your way; you might just be pleasantly surprised.

Brightest Blessings!

What is an elder?

What is an elder?

Author: Patricia Telesco 

This question lays heavy on our community’s heart. It seems simple on the surface, but is not so simple when we examine proverbial brass tacks.

I think most of us have grown very weary of people who misuse honored titles like elder and teacher, thinking that reading one book, attending a few lectures, or going to a few gatherings qualifies them to be at the forefront of the neo-pagan movement. In fact, such individuals are the ones who are setting us back decades. Why? Because they have not researched, they have not lived their faith in word and deed, they have not worked hard for their freedoms, or built those cornerstones necessary to responsible eldership (note the operative term: responsible).

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, we have taken a back seat approach to these situations. It seems we’re more content to complain than to try and change things. And those of us who aren’t complaining fall back on the excuse that neo-paganism as a non-conformist, vision-driven, tolerance based faith, doesn’t have the right to judge others or impose stricture. I personally think that is a huge load of hooey and a cop out. When a purported neo-pagan misrepresents the whole of our community, and specifically our elders who deserve respect, it is long past time for action, and long past the space in which we can coddle and handhold.

But let me back track for a moment… that still leaves us with the question of “if these ego driven prima-donnas aren’t elders then who qualifies? Ok, so that wasn’t overly politically correct, but sadly many people who thrust themselves into the public eye as “important” — aren’t. In fact, I would hazard to say that one of the most determining characteristics of an elder is that they need not say so. Instead, the true elder often prefers to work quietly in the background toward specific goals without flash and fanfare (flash and fanfare just distracts and puts schedules all out of kilter).

Elder implies maturity (be that maturity mental, spiritual or physical). I have seen teens in our community act with more maturity than those in their 40’s! So age cannot be the whole determining factor in Eldership.

Elder also implies wisdom: someone who has “been there, done that, has the t-shirt, and dozens of coffee mugs.” It is unreasonable and irresponsible to call anyone without a healthy portion of life experience under his or her belt an “elder.” A good example of this comes from the Bible wherein those associated with Moses in the government of the people were elders.

This brings us to a third intimation of eldership – namely involvement. To be a recognized elder of any community you have to be in touch with, and involved with that community on an intimate level. I would even hazard to take this definition one step further and say involved as a role model (be it teacher, healer, priest/ess, or whatever).

In the New England Churches at the turn of the century there were different sects of elders. Some taught, some were clergy, and some guided executive matters. I suspect considering our times that our true elders likely fulfill at least one (if not all) of these functions.

When one exhibits wisdom in the way they live their lives, it’s normal for others to be attracted by that unique approach. It’s inspiring, motivational, and thought-provoking. When one responds to the voice of Spirit with service, it’s normal for others to honor that service. When one guides gently, inspirationally, and cleverly, it’s normal for others to seek out that guidance.

In studying the world’s religious traditions, there seems to be some other guidelines to eldership that the neo-pagan movement might do well to adopt. They include:

  • Elders honor knowledge and tradition both in the way they live and in their interaction with others. This does not exclude creativity or innocent wonder, but instead embraces them.
  • Elders protect history, while always remaining aware of the now and the future
  • Elders accept responsibility for action (or inaction) according to their level of spiritual awareness and skill
  • Elders honor the earth as a sacred space and treat it accordingly Similarly, elders honor all living things and respect diversity (knowing there are many paths to enlightenment)
  • Elders see life as the act of worship, and everything else as “extras”
  • Elders strive for truthfulness and realness
  • Elders teach, offer aid, consult, and provide insights, without expectation of personal gain
  • Elders give back something to their art(s)
  • Elders know that they have only just begun to “master” spirituality (the process of learning never ends unless we close the doors)

Certainly this list is abbreviated and generalized, but it provides a good standard to which we could strive if we wished. Being powerful isn’t the focus of eldership, nor is waiving a title beneath someone’s nose, it’s doing the work that needs to be done with all the skill and knowledge available to you. It’s living your life in a truly unique way — one that never says “hey look at me, I’m an elder” but one that simply leaves that awareness on people’s spirit. I truly believe if your life has been touched by such a soul, that you may never remember their name but you will always remember the influence they left behind, which is an even greater legacy.

Eldership is sometimes thankless (not everyone wants to hear the truth; not everyone wants responsible use of power) but it also can be glorious. The difference is in how our community treats our true elders. Do we respect them? Do we uplift them? Do we hold and heal them? They are a TREASURE. If we do not carefully guard the real treasures and weed out those that are nothing more than fool’s gold, we do a terrible disservice to our whole community and it’s public image, not to mention those people who have served us diligently, tirelessly, and lovingly.

Let’s make our honored titles mean something. Let’s dare to stand up to puffed up “leaders” and express our concern, if not our appal. This isn’t about just you, or just me… it’s about our whole way of life and who we choose to guide our future by history’s example. When people look at the chronicles of the neo-pagan movement of this century my question to you is: who do you want to see as the movers and shakers? Who do you embrace as your elders. Make your choice wisely.

Patricia Telesco,

Daily OM for March 5th – Constructive Connections

 

Constructive Connections
Sharing with Your Neighbors

 

by Madisyn Taylor

 

If you are craving community look to your own neighbors to forge new relationships and build something new together.

 

Many of our relationships can be fleeting or do not deepen past a superficial level, yet these connections, as trivial as they can seem, often have the potential to grow into something much more essential. When we crave community, we should focus our attention on these casual acquaintances. To forge a bond with neighbors, we need to work together with them so that we have a context from which to begin a more mature relationship. Sharing tasks that are part of living can be a wonderful way to become a part of a larger community, make new friends, and lighten the workloads of everyone involved.

Creating a network of neighbors who agree to pool certain resources and share daily duties can be as easy as taking the initiative. If you are willing to take the first step by reaching out to the individuals and families who share your building or your street, you will likely find that others are receptive to the notion. Starting small, with just a few people, can help you orchestrate a smoothly running system. Together, you will need to decide what chores you want to do communally and what resources can be shared. Ideas for community sharing are child care, errands, housework, keeping a joint garden, cooking for the group, and carpooling. For instance, if you cook large meals for four neighbors once a week, you take off four nights after that. As you grow to trust one another, you can begin adding new members to your evolving network or introducing new tasks to your shared roster of duties.

Actions speak louder than words, so working closely with neighbors to ensure the well-being of the group can be a wonderful way to build a sense of community in your locale. Not everyone you approach will be open to the idea of becoming a part of a network of sharing. As you connect with those who do appreciate the merits of such a system, you will discover that others are just as eager as you are to create interpersonal connections that are defined by substance.

Daily OM

 

Alas, All Barrels Have Their Bad Apples

Alas, All Barrels Have Their Bad Apples

Author:   Ginger Strivelli   

It is sad but true; all barrels have their bad apples hidden within.

The Pagan community is not immune to ignorant and/or immoral idiots who call themselves one of us, and then go on to be the worse kind of bad example, spewing bad PR and worse damage in the wake of their stupid if not outright evil behavior.

The problem is, most people do not judge all Muslims by the “bad example” of Osama Bin Laden, or all Christians by the bad example of David Koresh, nor all New Agers by the bad example of the Heaven’s Gate cult. Nonetheless, it seems painfully clear that too often too many people still judge all Pagans and Witches and Wiccans and Druids and other Earth Religionists by the crimes of our few bad apples. Admittedly we’ve had some real rotten-to-the-core ones…and will sadly continue to in the future, most likely. We are open and accepting and loving people and we tend to embrace everyone, even those we shouldn’t. In our inclusive accepting ways we sadly include and accept those who we should not to start with. However, once those bad apples have been pointed out to us, we should stop including and accepting them! That seems simple, but often it is not so clear to Pagan leaders, clergy and communities when faced with a situation where one within their circle surprisingly turns out to be a bad apple.

How can we as a community distance ourselves from these types of bad examples? It is a question we ask each other often. A question we are forced to address way too often when such situations arise where someone within our local Pagan Circles turns out to be an idiot, mentally ill, or actually evil. Woefully, we tend to have some people who call themselves “Pagan” who fit all three categories. Perplexingly, some of our fellow Pagans will balk at denouncing these people…they will urge us to be “understanding” or “forgiving” or “tolerant.” The fact is some things, some people, some behaviors and some crimes are just wrong and not understandable, forgivable, or tolerable. That is a hard lesson: For some of us who have fought long and hard for tolerance and acceptance to realize that everything is not tolerable and acceptable! Some things are just wrong. There is still a line between right and wrong. Just because you are trying to be progressive and open-minded and tolerant doesn’t mean you can just not draw that line between right and wrong…you must draw it somewhere. Even if you draw that line at a different place than the (in your view) narrow-minded greater community, you still must draw the line somewhere!

We in the Pagan community try so hard to be open-minded, we often get so open-minded our brains start to fall out. It is a hard lesson for us to face that we can’t and shouldn’t blindly accept everything and anything, just because we preach acceptance and tolerance of our faith.

An ancient and honorable faith like Witchcraft, Paganism, Druidism, Shamanism, or modern variations thereof, like Wiccans and such, should naturally be accepted; a religion is not intolerable. However, some things, some behaviors, some people are intolerable, and we should stop preaching acceptance when we are faced with such stupidity and/or evilness. Those things do not deserve acceptance. People who practice such behaviors should not be “accepted” or “understood.” They should not be excused with the wand of “tolerance.” They should be exposed, exiled, and executed in some extreme cases with the Athame of Lady Justice and Lady Karma instead. We real Pagans should not feel obligated to explain or excuse or expunge such behaviors and crimes. We should stand up and loudly and proudly be intolerant in such cases!

The Pagan community’s bad apples range from just the misguided and stupid bruised-apple types to those who are evil mutations of nature and are rotten-to-the-core types… and none of them should be protected or covered up for by the legitimate Pagan community, just because they call themselves one of “us.” That does not make them one of us; it does not make them representative of our religion or our community. However if we stand behind these bad apple bad examples, and “accept” them and embrace them and forgive them, then we should not be surprised when our whole community gets judged by their bad example. What is the greater community to think if we ourselves allow and foster such fools and monsters amongst us? Naturally they will think us all as ignorant and immoral as our fosterlings.

The phrase goes, “One bad apple spoils the barrel;” that is why a good farmer doesn’t let any bad apples stay in any barrel. We as Pagan clergy and leaders need to listen to the wisdom of that farmer. We need to kick such bad apples out of our barrels as soon as we know they are bad. That doesn’t make us “intolerant” or not “accepting;” that makes us a religious group with a code of honor and morals that we hold ourselves to. It is shocking that many of our Pagan clergy and Pagan group leaders hesitate to show this bit of wise leadership. In their defense, often they are trying to be all-accepting and all-inclusive, for they fear being seen as un-PC. Or perhaps they have just become so open-minded their brains are falling out.

Pagans need to encourage their leaders to set limits on what is acceptable and tolerable and what is not. We need to start drawing that line between right and wrong somewhere, instead of just arguing that everyone else has it drawn too conservatively so we are going to erase it altogether. The line is there for a good reason, so when people go over it, we know to stop associating with them and to punish them or see that the greater community punishes them before they cause any more harm to others around them.

We preach, “And ye harm none.” But perhaps we should add, “And ye let no one else do harm either.”

Growing Paganism

Growing Paganism

Author:   Belladonna Laveau HPs   

I have watched Wicca face many challenges over the years. We have accomplished much. We have received recognition as a valid religion. The IRS has granted church status to some Wiccan groups. We have festivals all over the US, so that we can worship together. We have many networking resources that allow us to find each other. We have tons of books on the subject. We even have books about books on Witchcraft. We have grown tremendously in numbers and in ideologies.

Today we witness a variety of concerns. We want manicured temples in which to hold handfastings, wiccanings, and requiems. We want rites of passages, and to honor our seasonal celebrations as a community. We want to frequent pagan businesses, drink at pagan pubs, and send our children to pagan schools. We want to celebrate our religion locally, without having to make a major investment in camping gear, or driving to a remote location and battling the weather, so that we can worship in privacy and peace.

Today’s biggest challenge to Wicca is not it’s lack of volunteers, or lack of ideas, lack of heart, courage, or ambition. Our biggest challenge is lack of organization and resources. We are an amazingly, interesting, multi-talented, powerful and charismatic people. Yet we are so driven in our individualism, that we have difficulty working together as a whole.

Churches provide the many social programs that we are begging for, such as schools, food banks, community centers, and public temples. Churches provide legal protection, validate our clergy, accredit our schools, network our businesses, minister to our sick and needy, and host our seasonal celebrations. They provide religious support and social services to the community that makes our world a better place. They give us the opportunity to connect as a society and allow us to do more working together than we could do as individuals acting alone. They foster culture, such as music, art, poetry, and theater.

Churches are a vital part of a healthy community. It is through churches that each of us can find our place to serve the greater community at large.

But, we don’t have many churches, and the ones that we do very closely resemble covens. They are mostly small, and have no formal meeting place. Why, with a throng of people begging for ministering, can we not provide services for our seekers? Is it because we don’t believe in proselytizing? Is it because we are afraid and wanting to hide from public view? No. It’s because we don’t monetarily support a clerical body to freely provide religious services.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, when was the last time that you went to a pagan event, and offered ANY money to the facilitator that wasn’t a required fee? When was the last ritual you attended where a plate was passed to collect money? When was the last time that you got your paycheck and thought, ‘I should give 10%, or 5% or even $10 to my local priestess?

Statistics prove that 99% of us would have to answer: NEVER. My question to you is, “Why not?”.

For any of us to ever have the community we dream of, YOU and I have to tithe to our local groups. You can’t wait until you have “extra” money, or until you see others doing it. YOU have to set the example. YOU have to make it a priority. You have to decide to budget it in. You choose to spend your money on what’s important to you. You can choose to set aside some for the Goddess, or you can choose not to.

We wonder why other churches don’t take us seriously, but we have been sending a very clear message to our government, our community and our clergy that while our books, candles, herbs and crystals are very important to us, our religious institutions are not.

I run a church. It used to be a coven, now it’s a legal entity under the umbrella of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church. I am asked to tithe 10% of our receivables to the mother church monthly. There are many affiliates, who utilize the resources that the ATC has to offer. It costs the ATC about $75, 000 a year to provide the services that we enjoy. Less than $1, 000 of that money comes from Tithes.

The church must charge a fee for their celebrations in order to raise this money, or they would not have the funds needed to continue operations. Last year, I invested over $20, 000 on my personal resources into our church. I received less than $500.00 in tithes from our members, which is a marked improvement from the year before.

Say what you will about charging for spells, that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s true that making money off the craft can lead one down a dark road. But, I ask you, when is the last time you suspected a High Priestess of purchasing a new car on embezzled church funds? We are not in jeopardy of making anyone rich off the pagan community, yet.

I strongly encourage you to be watchful of your leaders. Immediately quit giving your money to anyone, whom you feel is misappropriating it. Don’t support ANY leaders, whom you do not feel deserves an energy exchange for their services. But, if you participate in a community, find some way to give back, even if it’s just the spare change you collect in a bowl on your altar.

Many of you volunteer your time and services. This is important. The community runs on volunteerism. But, services don’t pay the light bill. It won’t buy land or a building. Time, talent, and treasure together make up an appropriate offering to the Goddess. It doesn’t take a lot of money. If every one of the people, who considers me their spiritual leader, were to give me $1 a month, I could open a public temple and sit in it all day planning free public events, teaching free classes, and giving readings, healings, and free spiritual counseling to the community. Each of us could have an on call spiritual leader, if we’d work together to support the ones who are already doing the work. Isn’t that the world we would rather live in?

We have become jaded against the idea of giving money, but it’s only through pooling our mutual resources that we will ever have the common services that other religions enjoy. Churches provide the services that we are asking for. We don’t have these services, because we aren’t supporting our local pagan ministries, so that they have the resources to grow these services for us. Lack of tithing, donating, offering, or sponsoring is the single biggest obstacle Wicca faces today.

Our spiritual institutions have already overcome many obstacles as a religion, such as getting the government to put Pentacles on military headstones. But, the one obstacle that stands looming over every pagan leader is lack of funding.

It’s time we changed that.

Daily Horoscopes for Wednesday, September 18

It feels as if love is hard to find today, but we might be pleasantly surprised if we take the time to look beyond surface appearances. We may show our displeasure by withdrawing emotionally as the somber Venus-Saturn conjunction resonates through our lives. It’s not easy to blend the affectionate warmth of Venus with the calculated coldness of Saturn. However, the compassionate Pisces Moon offers a spiritual response to more practical questions.

Aries Horoscope

(Mar 21 – Apr 19)

Withholding support from someone isn’t a good idea today even if you’re trying to send a message of disapproval. Or maybe you want to separate yourself from a project that has gone astray. In either case, your actions aren’t helpful if your responses are based on fear of the unknown. It’s more useful to honestly talk about the cause of your concerns without blaming anyone else. But don’t expect the tension to dissipate right away. Stay on your current path by working with others until you gain more clarity after tomorrow’s Full Moon.

Taurus Horoscope

(Apr 20 – May 20)

You might feel a little left out of the fun as if there’s an emotional chill in the air now that your key planet Venus is restrained by the dominance of karmic Saturn. Although you may fight against the resistance at first, letting go of control is the smartest way today to quickly turn an uncomfortable situation into a very sweet one. Give up a little independence voluntarily; it’s a small price to pay in the big scheme of things and can improve your chances of receiving the love that you desire.

Gemini Horoscope

(May 21 – Jun 20)

You may be offered a tough choice today, especially if you aren’t one to make a commitment easily. You could be very convincing as you explain your desire for intimacy, but you’ll likely retreat if someone gets too near to your heart. However, mustering up enough courage to overcome your fears is the key to happiness. Luckily, you don’t have to repeat the same old patterns just because you are scared of getting hurt. Take a leap of faith and trust the process.

Cancer Horoscope

(Jun 21 – Jul 22)

It appears that you could get the support you need from a close friend or a family member if you ask for it, so you don’t really have a logical reason to keep quiet now. Even if you can’t easily imagine that someone will actually be there for you, taking a calculated risk should turn out fine. Instead of seeing your current situation as requiring an all-or-nothing approach, try to establish enough common ground for the basis of a solid partnership. Let others nurture you the way you would nurture them.

Leo Horoscope

(Jul 23 – Aug 22)

It may be awkward to engage in a casual conversation now because your feelings might be exposed and you’re afraid that you won’t get what you want. Your unspoken fears could actually turn into a self-fulfilling prophesy today, especially if you withdraw from social interaction. Fortunately, you have the power to overcome the negativity of your own self-limiting thoughts. You can turn things around by changing your attitude and opening your heart.

Virgo Horoscope

(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

It’s time to make a crucial decision about how best to spend or save your money. But this goes much deeper than being a simple cash flow problem because the underlying issue is more likely about your self-esteem. When you realize all the skills that you have to offer, your earning power could grow quickly, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re worth any less than you actually are.

Libra Horoscope

(Sep 23 – Oct 22)

You are not inclined to waste your energy while sharing your feelings today. You are very practical when it comes to allocating your time now that your key planet Venus runs into austere Saturn in your 2nd House of Resources. You may be very rational about cutting back on frivolous pleasures to assure that you will have what you need on a rainy day. Although caution makes sense, remember that there is an unlimited supply of love, so you can always splurge where it matters most.

Scorpio Horoscope

(Oct 23 – Nov 21)

You don’t need to suffer in silence today if you’re willing to face an old fear with a new attitude. Your current isolation is probably more voluntary than you care to admit now that the sobering Venus-Saturn conjunction occurs in your sign. The current situation has very little to do with what happened to you in the past. It’s your choice; you can respond emotionally based on old worn-out habits or you can live fully in the present. Ultimately, being realistic is a much more empowering strategy than being pessimistic.

Sagittarius Horoscope

(Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Don’t be so quick to assume that your friends are putting you down today when your warped perceptions may be contributing to the dynamics. You might be so sensitive now that you’re imagining trouble, even where there isn’t any. However, it may be too late to avoid the discomfort if negativity has already been generated by your feelings of uncertainty. Instead of projecting previous failures onto others, talk about your concerns without pointing fingers at anyone else. Honest dialogue clears the air by getting everything out into the open.

Capricorn Horoscope

(Dec 22 – Jan 19)

It may be disheartening if you don’t receive the professional respect you deserve now as vulnerable Venus bumps up against your key planet Saturn. You’ve done the hard work, yet unfortunately, your ego can get in the way by tricking you to think that you should be more highly appreciated than you are. Don’t waste your time dreaming about recognition and fame. The real reward is the deep satisfaction that comes from knowing you’ve done your very best.

Aquarius Horoscope

(Jan 20 – Feb 18)

Unfortunately, there’s no room on your schedule to surrender to your desires now. Instead, you must maintain an emotionally cool and competent presence at work while sweet Venus runs into austere Saturn in your 10th House of Profession. Don’t waste energy complaining about what you’re missing; instead, get busy working on your long-term goals. Seeking personal satisfaction has to wait; being patient today is your best strategy to realizing your dreams tomorrow.

Pisces Horoscope

(Feb 19 – Mar 20)

Too much resistance from a partner doesn’t give you an excuse to go off brooding today. Don’t isolate yourself from someone you love deeply just because you think that everything isn’t perfect between you. It’s tempting to hide your head in the sand like an ostrich, but this avoidance technique is certainly not a sensible long-term solution. Facing the shortcomings of a relationship might actually put you back in touch with your heart, which in turn, could lead to an emotional healing.

Your Daily Horoscopes for Tuesday, September 17th

We may be confused by our own desires today because they don’t necessarily fit neatly into our current set of circumstances. The Moon drifts into psychic Pisces at 9:57 am EDT, opening our intuitive channels and sensitizing us to other people’s unspoken feelings. It’s tricky to separate our emotions from those we pick up from everyone else. Fortunately, our actions reflect our words as mental Mercury forms a supportive sextile to physical Mars.

Aries Horoscope

(Mar 21 – Apr 19)

It feels as if someone is keeping a secret from you today, yet the more you try to figure it out, the farther away the truth seems to get. Instead of worrying about what you might be missing, concentrate your attention on what you do know and act accordingly. Save your detective work for another day when others are more willing to communicate. Take the high road and see who follows.

Taurus Horoscope

(Apr 20 – May 20)

Your current dilemma requires balancing your personal desires with the needs of others at work. Fortunately, you can rely on your ability to logically analyze the differences and then make decisions based upon what will work best for a larger group. Being selfish now will only create additional problems. There’s no need to panic since you’ll probably get what you want soon enough. In the meantime, show others that you can be a valuable team player by jumping in to help.

Gemini Horoscope

(May 21 – Jun 20)

You may not have the freedom to express your feelings at work today. There could be unexpected consequences if you go ahead and say what’s on your mind, but you might choose to speak your peace anyhow. Although you aren’t responsible for the reactions of anyone else, you still need to get your job done on time. If you want other people’s cooperation, take a deep breath and consider their feelings first.

Cancer Horoscope

(Jun 21 – Jul 22)

Making travel plans for the future is tricky business today since you are likely to aspire toward more extravagance than you can actually afford. Unrealistic dreams could come crashing down to earth if you try to cover too much ground or spend too much money. Instead of running into an insurmountable obstacle, it’s smarter now to rein in your vision of an idealistic getaway. Keep it real in order to make it possible.

Leo Horoscope

(Jul 23 – Aug 22)

Your need for intimacy might create situations that ultimately make you feel uncomfortable today. It’s not that you want to avoid getting closer to someone you truly admire; it’s just that you don’t like limiting your options. Focus your attention on what you are experiencing in the present moment instead of dreaming about indefinite possibilities that may or may not happen sometime in the future. Be here now.

Virgo Horoscope

(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

Although you logically know what’s best for you, you’re still confused when people tell you what they want today. But listening to someone else doesn’t have to change what you already know about yourself, even if you are more sensitive to the needs of your partner now than to your own desires. Remember, you can be available to others while still taking care of yourself.

Libra Horoscope

(Sep 23 – Oct 22)

It’s complicated to figure out what is expected of you at work today, but that might not prevent you from trying to do what’s right. Don’t worry about the reactions of your associates, since they probably won’t tell you what they’re really thinking anyhow. Accept the fact that others may hide their true feelings because they don’t want to stir up the waters any more than necessary. You can’t go wrong if you act for the greater good of everyone involved.

Scorpio Horoscope

(Oct 23 – Nov 21)

A romantic attraction might make you feel a bit unstable today as the Moon slips into your 5th House of Love and Play. It’s natural for your feelings to swing one way and then the other as you play out the possibilities in your mind. It’s okay to acknowledge that you really don’t know what’s best, even if you want to arrive at a final conclusion now. Ease up on the controls for a while and just observe your changing moods. You’re better off postponing a relationship decision for a couple of days and enjoying the ride.

Sagittarius Horoscope

(Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Unresolved feelings about a family member may instigate a minor crisis at home today. You might try to ignore the issue by focusing on your work responsibilities, but this will probably just make matters worse. There’s no need to add to the tension with your denial when you can simply discuss your concerns without taking control of the situation. Remember, you don’t need to have all the answers at this time; just showing up is enough to make others happy.

Capricorn Horoscope

(Dec 22 – Jan 19)

Your desire to micromanage your schedule today creates more problems than it solves. Unfortunately, others may not be willing to blindly go along with your plans and there isn’t a lot that you can say or do to change their minds. Ironically, loosening your grip on the reins could actually help you to get what you want faster than you might expect.

Aquarius Horoscope

(Jan 20 – Feb 18)

A financial decision that has been weighing heavily on your mind might be resolved today in a single instant. You may have a sudden flash of inspiration that enables you to clearly see the solution that you were missing. When you realize that the issue is less about money and more about what you value, the logical choice will become crystal clear. It’s not the bottom line that counts now; it’s the feeling you have at the bottom of your heart.

Pisces Horoscope

(Feb 19 – Mar 20)

Your emotional inconsistency could be driving someone crazy today, even if you aren’t aware of your erratic behavior. Others might currently see you as irresponsible; however, you think that you know what you want and are willing to follow through with your plan to accomplish your goals. Nevertheless, your feelings are unsettled now that the Moon is back in your sign, and it would be wise to wait until after the Full Moon on Thursday before you make a major commitment. In the meantime, cultivate your dreams and see what develops.

Weekend Love Horoscopes for September 13 -15

Weekend Love Horoscopes

September 13-15: Fairy Tales and White Noise

Maria DeSimone    Maria DeSimone on the topics of love, horoscopes, astrology

This weekend’s realistic Moon in Capricorn on Friday and Saturday might lend more sobriety to romance than usual. The one saving grace, however, will be a gorgeous trine between Venus and Neptune on Saturday.  When the planet of love connects to the planet of inspiration, no amount of Capricorn weight will take away our faith in love.

In fact, the Moon will connect beautifully to both of these planets early on Friday, fortifying our belief that despite any hardships, the positive potential of love will prevail.

On Sunday, the Moon zips into quirky Aquarius and there will be strong potential for sudden communication from a partner. Mercury is now in relationship-oriented Libra and it will square Pluto on Saturday, but it will also move to oppose Uranus (the ruler of this Aquarian Moon) by late Sunday night. This sets up a difficult pattern in which it might be hard to listen to your mate. All you seem to hear is noise. Erratic decisions about a relationship are possible.

* Your Weekend Love Horoscope is now written by counseling Astrologer Maria DeSimone, who knows love, dating and relationships better than anyone. Maria tracks the planets so you can make the right romantic moves every weekend!