Noteable Days In January


January 2016

⦁ 1: Birthday of folklorist Sir James Frazier, 1854
⦁ 13: Last of Austria’s witchcraft laws repealed in 1787
⦁ 19: Birthday of  Dorothy Clutterbuck
⦁ 20: Celtic Tree Month of Birch ends
⦁ 21: Celtic Tree Month of Rowan begins
⦁ 23: Full moon — Cold Moon at 8:46 p.m.
⦁ 24: Sementivae
⦁ 25: Birthday of poet Robert Burns, 1759
⦁ 26: Up Helly Aa celebration, Shetland Islands, Scotland
⦁ 30: Birthday of Z Budapest, founder of Dianic Wicca
⦁ 30 – Feb. 2: Roman celebration of Februalia



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Let’s Talk Witch – What Exactly is Green Witchcraft?

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What Exactly is Green Witchcraft?

In popular perception, the practice of green witchcraft is a nature-based expression of spirituality that focuses on the individual’s interaction with their natural environment. Witchcraft itself is a practice that involves the use of natural energies as an aid to accomplishing a task or reaching a goal. In general, witchcraft acknowledges a god and a goddess (sometimes solely a goddess) and recognizes that magic is a natural phenomenon.

Witchcraft is frequently confused with Wicca, which is a modern, alternative, nature-based religion. While Wicca and witchcraft possess many similarities, including reverence for nature, Wicca is a specific, formal religion. There are a wide variety of forms of witchcraft, with varying degrees of structure. For the sake of this book, the term “witchcraft” refers to the practice of working with natural energies to attain goals, without a specific religious context.

A green witch, then, is someone who lives the green path and is aware of how the energy of nature flows through her life and environment, even if that environment is not the traditional garden and forest setting popularized by fairy tales and romanticized notions.

Green witchcraft is not a formal tradition in the sense of Gardnerian Wicca, Dianic Wicca, Feri, or other established traditions. When I use the phrase “the green witch tradition,” I do not refer to an unbroken line of initiates or an established body of lore. Instead, I am referring to the various practices from diverse places that come together to inform the modern green witch and wisewoman.

Because the path of the green witch is an individualized solo practice, any modern book on green witchcraft is simply a single author’s way of interpreting the practice. Initiation into green witchcraft is technically impossible. There exists no body of formal knowledge passed on through careful training, no established group mind to which you are connected by sacred ceremonies performed by elders. Some modern eclectic groups may base their regular practice on the ideals of green witchcraft, but it’s not the same thing.

A practitioner of green witchcraft may pass on her personal knowledge, including her personal notes and writings, to another, but that’s not an initiatory process. Reading a specific author’s ideas and views concerning the path of the green witch is a form of apprenticeship in which you learn a new way of looking at your world and discover new exercises and techniques that will help you refine and deepen your connection to the natural world around you. This process cannot be as intensely personal as traditional apprenticeship, where the apprentice worked beside the master, but it is a modern form of acquiring the knowledge and skills of one particular practitioner.

The concepts of healing, harmony, and balance are all key to the green witch’s practice and outlook on life. These concepts embody three distinct focuses:

1. The earth (your local environment, as well as the planet)
2. Humanity (in general, as well as your local community and circles of friends and acquaintances)
3. Yourself

The earth is often singled out as the green witch’s main focus, which is slightly unfair. The green witch understands that the earth incorporates the planet and all living things upon it, including animals, plants, and people. In this respect, yes: the earth is a collective term for all living things. However, the green witch also knows that to lump them all together means that we sometimes forget the more individual emphasis each deserves. We can decry the general mistreatment of our planet’s water supply, but local action often has more of an immediate effect on our environment than demonstrating in front of
an office tower. “Clean up your own backyard” is a phrase the green witch understands well.

Finally, the green witch must function in harmony with the realities of her own life. This means working out your own goals and obstacles, knowing your own self so that you can apply your energies and skills to the best of your ability. Your true self is not necessarily the self you wish you could be; it is the self you actually are. Finding this true self can be a remarkably difficult goal. We lie to ourselves on a regular basis, often so well that we are completely deaf to certain aspects of our personalities until the day we die. Working with that shadowed side of ourselves can be rewarding, however, and maintaining a harmony between darker aspects and positive aspects bring out personal energy into balance.

The Way Of The Green Witch: Rituals, Spells, And Practices to Bring You Back to Nature
Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Let’s Talk Witch – Dianism in a Nutshell

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Let’s Talk Witch – Dianism in a Nutshell

Recently, I got back in touch with my teacher after nearly two years and dropped a couple of bombshells on her: I had changed gender identity and had come together with two other women to form a Dianic coven. When the initial shock wore off, Rita sent me a complete run of Protean Synthesis and a solicitation for this article.

Several years ago I subscribed to several stereotypes regarding “those peculiar Dianics”. They were theologically unbalanced, they hated men, they denied that men had souls, they were all lesbians, they couldn’t spell (in the orthographic sense; no one has yet accused Dianics of inability to work magick), etc. etc. When I came together with my coven sisters, I realized that these notions were at most partially true and some cases were patently false.

I believe there are only three valid generalizations that can be made about Dianics:

We are all feminists.

We all look to the Goddess(es) far more than to the God(s).

We are all eclectics.

Note well that there are plenty of non-Dianic feminist Witches, non-Dianic eclectics, and non-Dianics who are primarily Goddess-oriented. There are also doubtless a good many feminist, Goddess-oriented eclectics who do not choose to call themselves Dianic. In my own case I use the “If it quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck” argument, as well as the fact that my HPS learned the Craft as a Dianic and runs Dianic rituals.

Some of the stereotypical generalizations I can dismiss out of hand. I don’t know of a single Dianic who denies that men have souls. Even Z Budapest doesn’t believe that piece of tripe anymore! It is true that Dianism is particularly attractive to separatists, and many separatists actually hate men. Many Dianics are lesbians. Some misspell words like “woman”, women”, “egalitarian”, and “holistic” on purpose. Not all fit these, however, and I think that Z Budapest in her younger, or spiritual bomb-throwing, days represents an extreme and a small minority. There are a number of males involved in Dianism, and some of those are men [NB: I use the terms “man” and “woman” to indicate gender identity, that is, how one’s heart, mind, and/or soul are configured. I use “male” and “female” to indicate physical sex, that is, how one’s plumbing is configured. I hope this dispels confusion.].

Thealogical and magickal imbalance is not so easily dismissed and needs to be addressed further, as that is the most valid objection that thoughtful Witches have to Dianism. The apparent imbalance comes from the Dianic emphasis on Goddess-worship, often to the complete exclusion of God-worship. This upsets many Witches’ sense of polarity balance. The resolution of this apparent imbalance lies in the consideration of other polarities than sexual and/or gender as the primary polarity. There are indeed many other polarities to consider: true-false, life-death, dark-light, rational-mystical, creation-destruction, order-chaos, and good-evil, to name but a few. One problem with the masculine-feminine polarity is that there is a strong tendency to express all other polarities in terms of it. The Chinese were particularly fond of this, and mapped everything they liked into the yang side, and everything they disliked or feared into the yin side, the patriarchal no-accounts!

One thing I have discovered is that if you look hard enough, you can find goddesses to fit both ends of most polarities. Some even occupy both ends simultaneously. Inanna, my matron goddess, is a good case in point. She is the Sumerian goddess of love, war, wisdom (which she won in a drinking bout!), adventure, the heavens, the earth, and even of death (in the guise of her dark aspect, Ereshkigal). A very busy lady indeed is Inanna. At this point it becomes largely a matter of personal preference rather than of polarity, whether one chooses a god or a goddess to occupy a particular place in a ritual.

No Dianic I know of denies the existence of the God. Indeed, He gets mentioned as the consort of the Goddess with some frequency in Z Budapest’s HOLY BOOK OF WOMEN’S MYSTERIES, which is close a thing as there is to a Dianic version of the Gardnerian Book of Shadows. He is there, and sometimes we will invoke Him, when it is appropriate. He makes His own path, and we follow our own, and when they cross naturally we honor Him and do not avoid Him. We also do not force the paths to cross simply to lend an artificial balance to a ritual where none is really needed.

Now that I have spilled good deal of ink over what Dianismis not, I should now say a few words about what it is: a movement of feminist, eclectic, Goddess-oriented Witches.

Feminism: This covers a vast multitude of virtues and sins. I do not think the stereotypical radical lesbian separatist is as common as is believed. Moderate to liberal feminism is probably far more common, even among Dianics. Certainly my own coven contains no separatists! There are too many nice men out there, even though surveys have shown that 70% or more of all men are potential rapists. The nice ones are found among those who are not in that repulsive majority; you just have to look to find them. One of the places you might find such nice men is in Dianic covens! Some are mixed groups, at least some of those of the branch founded by Morgan McFarland. My own is something of a mixed up group, I suppose. While we do not currently have any men in the coven, two of the three of us were born male and still have original-equipment plumbing. The Goddess and our HPS accept us unreservedly as women

Eclecticism: If there is one dictum of Z Budapest’s that bears repeating to everyone in the Craft, and which gets followed by many, it is “When in doubt, invent.” Dianics tend toward creative ritual, drawing from any and all possible sources. I have yet to see a Dianic equivalent of the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, nor do I ever hope to see one.

Goddess Orientation: I’ve discussed this at some length while talking about polarity. There are some wags who have said that Dianics are nothing but matriarchal monotheists. I tell you three times: The Dianic Goddess is NOT Jehovah in drag! The Dianic Goddess is NOT Jehovah in drag! The Dianic Goddess is NOT Jehovah in drag! A much closer analogy would be that Dianics have taken the Classical pantheon and reclaimed most of the roles. This, too, is oversimplifying, but it is not nearly as wide of the mark as the usual criticism. At some point I may write up a long exegesis on the Dianic Goddess, but not here. My own personal involvement with Her comes from a great feeling of comfort I do not find elsewhere. She feels right. I have a great deal of difficulty accepting known rapists (most of the Olympian males are this, especially Zeus, Hades, and Pan!) into my personal pantheon. I also feel a personal vocation from the Mother; it is rather incongruous to me to embrace a male deity wholeheartedly when the Goddess comes to me and calls me Her daughter. This goes doubled, redoubled, in pentacles, and vulnerable for lovers of women.

I hope this little discussion of Dianism-in-a-Nutshell has proved enlightening to you. It is not a path for everyone, but it is a valid path for some, and in considering it I hope that you can now ignore the garbage that has been put forth in the past as “data” regarding it.

Transferred Over from Old WOTC on YUKU
Author Is Unknown To Me
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In Defence of the Masculine

In Defence of the Masculine

Author:   Luthien 

Why is it that far fewer men than women are attracted to Paganism, and specifically in Wicca far fewer still? Why do covens that celebrate and practice a religion that promotes a balanced gender polarity often aim but struggle to have equal numbers of male and female members? Does the idea of dancing round in a circle holding hands fill the average male with horror? Perhaps so, but there is a reason that many men can and do combine ‘normal’, socially accepted male hobbies with a spiritual lifestyle.

I’ve never been one for hyper-feminism, despite being female myself. I spent my childhood and adolescence in an expensive, all-girls school, where it was rammed down our throats every single day for nine years that there was this aching need for us to ‘break through the glass ceiling, and surpass men in business!’ Their level of enthusiasm was often slightly hysterical. Expectations of us were high, and our teachers had seemingly been trained to set us on a golden path, at the end of which we could spend our careers running board meetings and sniggering down at our inferior male employees. On many occasions I wondered what on Earth they were doing, seeing as the idea of becoming a generic ‘businesswoman’ filled me with dread, and nor did I ever have any desire to ‘surpass men’. Quite the opposite, as I’ve always had the impression that nowadays men and women by law are to be given equal opportunities in the world of work, and a number of people I’ve spoken to on the subject inform me that female friends and relatives indeed run their own businesses, having put in the same amount of effort as their male peers, without making a hullabaloo out of it.

I fear that overemphasis on the Goddess may make many males shy away from the Craft and make them feel unwelcome. Far more frequently do I find poems and passages written about the Goddess than the God, so I usually try to write a God equivalent to keep the balance. I feel that this is of great importance; else the balance of male and female energies that make up the Universe and make one of the core tenets of Wicca and many other Pagan religions is compromised.

At Beltane, Pagan couples all over the world choose this time to perform handfastings, the Pagan equivalent of a wedding, in which the couple declare their love for one another and vow to care for each other with the blessing of the Gods. Of-course, these couples need not always be a man and a woman; two women or two men may also handfast, and this I believe does not contradict gender balance. For in every man there are feminine qualities, and in every woman, male qualities, and so a different kind of balance is created in gay and lesbian couples, but nonetheless still as valid and powerful.

A prevailing attitude among many males (but not all) is that Pagan religions appear to be fluffy, over-sentimental, and well… downright girly. Most girls my age, teenagers on the brink of adulthood, would not be caught dead doing what I do; the majority of my female peers would much rather dress themselves up in a uniform of mass-produced clothes, splatter their faces in makeup and march into the centre of town in droves at weekends to guzzle as much alcohol as they can in the least amount of time until they vomit. This behaviour I don’t see at all as feminine, or indeed masculine; I view it as a sea of identical, made-up faces, wearing similar clothes and jewellery, following one another and living in their body as though it were a plastic shell, used to move them from one place to another and to withstand regular binges of alcohol, nicotine and sleep deprivation.

These girls wouldn’t dream of digging their carefully manicured hands into cool, freshly tilled soil, feeling the Earth’s pulse below them. They would not consider carefully cultivating a vegetable garden when processed food can be literally grabbed for a small price on the go. Nor would they perform binding magick for example to prevent the spread of a rumour, when they could much more easily spread an equally acidic rumour themselves in response. Yes, these girls are ‘girly’, but I do not deem them ‘feminine’. Feminine energy, in comparison, I feel is distinctly masculine by our society’s standards. Real women, in my opinion, are those who are not afraid to connect with the Earth, those who have the courage and will to make a stand for what they believe; supposedly ‘masculine’ qualities. No, boys, Paganism is not remotely ‘girly’.

Neither is it just for ‘gay men’, who are attracted to the Craft often because of the representation of the Horned God as a wild, free, sexual consort rather than the domineering, strict father as represented in many monotheistic religions; or perhaps due to the aspects of Paganism that involve theatre, dance, and celebration of life, as an escape from the expected hobbies of playing football and videogames or being encouraged to hunt down scantily clad girls.

In the Dianic tradition of Wicca, the Goddess is revered with little mention of the God at all. There are a number of good reasons that this tradition exists and that it is so popular, and I understand why many women join. Perhaps it is to escape a lifetime of male oppression; centuries of patriarchal religions, a domineering father, unpleasant brothers, abusive husbands – but don’t forget that men, too, are often victims of domestic violence. Many lesbian women find solace in a vagina-friendly community where they are loved and appreciated for being female by many similar-minded women. It is all very well to venerate our Mother the Earth, as after all, She provides us with bountiful gifts, the trees, the meadows and the streams, and gives us a home; but where would we be without our Father the Sun?

Even if you do not attribute the Moon and the Earth as a female energy and the Sun and sky as male, whichever way you look at it, there are masculine and feminine energies intertwining all the time. In the past, the Horned God was the Lord of the Hunt – communities would have starved without the keenness and cunning of the male eye to hunt prey. The communities would too have starved without the craftsmanship and skill of the women, but if the Goddess has no male consort, how can the Earth be replenished with new life in the spring?

I am grateful to have grown up in a society where gender discrimination is minimal, but I also know of a many great males who feel oppressed for whatever reason. I personally despise gender stereotyping, and I believe that there is a lot of pressure on boys to be sporty/competitive/to lead the family. Many of those who are not aware that it is open to them would greatly benefit from a balanced, Earth –based lifestyle. I cringe at the prospect of sounding like the Proselytising Pennys of many other religions, so I shall state here that I am fully aware that Paganism is not for everyone. However, I don’t believe that the idea of practising a Pagan religion should be discarded on the grounds of gender; too often is its content perceived as ‘not masculine’ – on the contrary, the role of the Priest as the Horned God I couldn’t perceive as anything other than the raw energy of men.

I have a great admiration for the men, particularly boys and younger men who break the trend and take the leap into any spirituality that suits their beliefs far more than the ‘masculine’ mould of expected interests and beliefs which is laid out for them. I cherish the few rituals that I find which are written solely for males; I recently found a Litha ritual which was designed to coincide with Father’s Day, and it instructed all the males to dress as the horned God and thank the male members of the family for all their work, love and support. What a fantastic way for fathers and sons to bond in a spiritual way which is so frequently overlooked in favour of female figures in Wicca.

So yes, I believe there is a place for any male alongside females in Paganism, and while ‘the love for the Goddess I hold deep inside’, I too love and revere my God.

Sophie Horrocks, Southeast England.

Dianic Wicca

Dianic Wicca

By , Guide

Origins of Dianic Wicca:

Born of the feminist movement and founded by hereditary witch Zsuzsanna Budapest, Dianic Wicca embraces the Goddess but spends little time on her male counterpart. Most Dianic Wiccan covens are female-only, but a few have welcomed men into their groups, with the intention of adding some much-needed polarity. In some areas, the phrase Dianic Wiccan came to mean lesbian witch, but that is not always the case, as Dianic covens welcome women of any sexual orientation.

Exceptions to the Rule:

While many Wiccan paths follow a belief system that limits hexing, cursing or negative magic, some Dianic Wiccans make an exception to the rule. Budapest, a noted feminist Wiccan writer, has argued that hexing or binding those who do harm to women is acceptable.

Honoring the Goddess:

Dianic covens celebrate the eight Sabbats, and use similar altar tools to other Wiccan traditions. However, among the Dianic community there is not a lot of continuity in ritual or practice – they simply self-identify as Dianic to indicate that they follow a Goddess-based, feminine-focused spiritual path.

The core belief of Dianic Wicca, as founded by Z Budapest, states that the tradition “is a holistic religious system based on a Goddess-centered cosmology and the primacy of She Who is All and Whole unto Herself.”




Starting something new can be frightening; this applies also to a new religion.  You will be taught the basic tenants, but in the long run, it will be up  to you to make of it what you want.

There are many different witches, each with their own set of rituals.  Some witches prefer to work alone, other like working within a coven.  Once again  this is a person choice.  Let no one force you into joining anything with which you are not comfortable.

Let me give you an idea of the various forms of the craft that are available to you.

Gardnerian Wicca:  Started in 1950’s by Gerald Gardner.  Groups tend to work skyclad.  Covens use a degree system.  Individuals are initiated by the  coven.

Alaxandrian Wicca:  Started in the 1960’s in England.  In many aspects they are like the Gardnerian Wicca.

Georgian Wicca:  Founded by George Patterson in the 1970’s.  They are known as the Georgian Church and draw their rituals from the Alaxandrian and  Gardnerian crafts.  Members also write their own ritual.

Algard Wicca:  Founded in 1972.  Mary Nesnick combined Alexandrian and Gardnerian Wicca to form the Algard tradition.  They are very close to the  Gardnerian tradition.

Seax-Wica: Founded in 1962 by Raymond Buckland a protégé of Gardner.  He moved to the U. S. A. and in 1973 started his own tradition based on Saxon  traditions.  Hence Seax-Wica.

Feri Tradition: Victor Anderson is credited to bringing this tradition to America in the late 1960’s.  Feri teacher tend to add something of  themselves to the religion as they teach.  They can be solitary or work in small groups.

Dianic Tradition: This religion focus strongly on the Goddess with little or no interact on the God.  This is a feminist movement of the craft.  The  covens are women only.

British Traditional: There are a number of different British Traditions that are based on the Pre Christian traditions of Old England.

Celtic Wicca:  The tradition looks to the Celtic and druidic deities, with an emphasis on magickal and healing properties.

Northern Way or Asatru.  This tradition is based on the Old Norse gods.

Pictish Witches:  This is a solitary Scottish Tradition that is based on nature.

Strega Witches:  This tradition is from Italy.

You will notice that this list is long, but not complete.  Many witches are drawn to the “way” because of their background.  This need not be  so.  Follow the one that calls to you.

What type of a witch are you?

Solitary:  Practices the craft alone and does not work with a group or coven.  By the Gardnerian and Alexandrian way solitary witches    are not witches.  In order to be considered a witch you must work with a coven.

Eclectic:  These witches pick chose and mix various traditions.  They have no set path.

Hereditary:  These are the practitioners who have been taught the craft from their relative.  The craft was passed, unbroken, from    generation to generation.

So, now, do you want to be a solitary witch or work with a coven?  Let me give you a few Pros and Cons to consider.


If you join a coven you will receive lots of support.  There are people available with the same beliefs to talk to.  You will also get some structure.    You can work your way up from dedicant to High Priest(s).


Just by the fact that there is structure in a coven may discourage some people.  The coven decides on the where, when at time of the Sabbats and    meetings.  If you break the laws of the coven (dishonor) you will be asked to leave.   The cons of a coven are not unlike those that relate to any group    activity.


OK, so you will go solo and be a solitary.  This means that you can learn at your own pace.  You can follow your own schedule for Sabbats, within    reason.  You attire is strictly up to you.  Some solitaries will join with a know coven to celebrate Sabbats.  You can design your own rituals.


The major downside is that you are on are on your own.  Help and guidance from knowledgeable witches are not going to be readily available.  The    solitary had no linage to look back on for guidance.  Solitary witches are looked down on by name of the coven witches.  What do you know – a class    structure L

So what type of training do you want?  You can find metaphysical shops and seek help from them.  You can use the local library or book shop.  If you    have internet access there is a wealth of information available for you.

You may want to join a coven.  This decision must be made carefully.  Some covens are basically nothing more than social groups.  Others are based on    the D & D games.  Be selective, just as they will want to interview you, you should reciprocate in kind.

NOTE:  Witches do not try to convert people.

Once you have decided upon a coven go to a few open Sabbats and meetings, if permitted.  If you can not attend an open Sabbat write the coven off.  With    the exception of two Sabbats, all others can be open.

Sit down with the Priestess / Priest and see what the coven will want of you.  The will also ask what you can bring to the coven.  Remember, a coven    becomes your family away from home.  The coven should NEVER supercede your home life.  You family will always come first.

Once you are in total agreement – both ways you can apply to become a dedicant.  During this time you will be kept under the eye of the Priestess and    Priest.  Your initial training will last for a year and a day.  After that time, if upon the agreement of all, you can become an initiate.  From that point    on you will go through the three degrees of initiation.  Each degree will take a minimum of a year and a day to complete.

Being a member of a coven is a commitment.  You will be expected to attend coven functions.  Covens usually meet to celebrate the 8 Sabbats – holidays    of the God and 13 Esbats – holidays of the Goddess.  Members of the coven are given a part to perform during the rituals.  Not showing up for ritual is a    major NO-NO.  If you do not make it you can ruin the ritual.

You may also be asked to help the coven.  Many covens take on community work to help the community.

Many covens plan outing and fun events for their members…

One thing to remember no matter what path you choose; When the Student is ready, the Teacher Will Appear.

Things to Remember

There are possibly hundreds, possibly thousand different types of witches.

You need not join a coven to be a witch.

If any witch asks you to do something that is immoral, illegal or makes you uncomfortable, DO NOT DO IT.

You will find your teacher when the time is right.

Midmaiden Crisis

Midmaiden Crisis

Author: Deborah Castellano

I’m having a midmaiden crisis.

Sometimes I wonder if I make my life much harder than it has to be. Like, just about everyone else I know seems perfectly contented working a job that is hopefully not soul-sucking 40 hours a week, getting engaged/married, spending a lot of time at home, paying nominal attention to their religion of choice, occasionally still going out with friends maybe monthly, once in a blue moon going to a club or a party, and just generally going about life.

I understand watching my family’s struggles with secrecy, pain, and shame has made me very resistant to an average, mundane kind of life even though most people don’t have horrible consequences for choosing a life that becomes very insular. I guess I saw almost all my mom’s friends leave her since she would not leave my alcoholic dad and saw how unhappy both my parents were. So the idea of being so dependent on any one person for everything and being so limited in life choices made me decide at an early age that that would never be me.

I’ve spent all of my life trying to make safe/secure life decisions. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted what I never had growing up (a warm, loving, happy family) and to please everyone and be successful. Instead I am staring down:

A career I left because it was crushing me and not nurturing my soul, so I could become a part time nanny and bring home exactly half the money I was previously bringing home for half the hours. This was not the life my mother or I had envisioned for myself. I was supposed to be on a career path! I was supposed to be making lots of money! I was supposed to be working towards being someone important in someone else’s fishbowl! Instead, I am a nanny for two small children for a very nice family and I am helping to nurture them to grow up smart, self-confident, and happy.

Loving, happy, but complicated love relationships. My heart tends to be too complex to fit into a typical Cosmo’s “How to have a successful relationship and give a good blowjob and have an awesome career and spend lots of time with your galpals and girl, get your ass to the gym for some yoga and quality you time!” column. I am truly blessed to have partners in my life who understand this and friends who do their best to try as well. But when you step out of society’s check boxes (Gay or straight? Married or single?), it can also feel isolating and frustrating to not have all the words to explain things quickly or the comfort of doing what’s expected of you.

A religion that’s often misunderstood. I was brought up Catholic (and was a very devout believer), but after my dad died, it started to not work so well for me. I started asking a lot of questions and hoped to find answers that worked for me. And while in my college coursework I found peace with the religion I was raised in, and respect for my feminist Catholic sisters who are fighting the good fight, the revolution was not moving fast enough for me personally. I learned about Dianic Wicca in my studies and was lucky enough to find a circle near to me that started my path as a Pagan. It was (and is) a beautiful, exciting, and moving experience for me. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes I miss the ease of Catholicism — go to church Sundays, be a good pony, confess when you haven’t, and God will always take care of you. Following a much newer (and at the same time much older) religion and religious movement is exciting and exhilarating because I feel like I personally am making a lot of impact on it. My connections to my own goddesses and gods feel a lot more personal to me. But there are also many explanations needed, fewer religious texts to fall back on, a firm but smaller support structure, and let’s not forget the whole “I went against hundred of years of tradition in my family” to be a Witch thing.

Not wanting any kids. I love being a nanny. I really do. But I also love going home. I love having the freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want it. And that is not going to go over well with my fam when they find out.

Still have a house that is often messy. Part of the reason I left the corporate world was to have more time to tend to my own hearth. To have the time and energy to care for my loved ones, my house and have enough time to cook (another pastime I enjoy). But oftentimes the house is still messy more days than not, we eat casseroles and crockpot meals more often than not, along with the stigma of others (not my partners!) devaluing my labor in the home because it’s unpaid. I also am dealing with my own envy for the women I know who work full time, but make Martha Stewart look like a burnout slacker. It can be very hard to not hold myself up to these other women and find myself lacking.

To say taking the road less traveled is terrifying is nothing shy of an incredible understatement. I remember how scared and anxious I was when I was just out of college, sitting on the concrete train station floor in Belgium, stranded and unable to speak the language with just a fistful of currency (wafflemarks?) in my pocket. If you had told me then that it would pale in comparison to how I would feel five years later, surrounded by friends and family in my own hometown trying to follow my heart like some damned chicklit novel, I probably would have thrown some wafflemarks at you. But yet, here I am anyway.

I guess I’m saying it’s hard sometimes, feeling like not a lot of people in my life can say “I know exactly how you feel” and really mean it. Sometimes this path to my true heart is lonely and often it’s scary. I’ve always, always had a really exacting plan, but I threw my map into the river. Stepping out of my box is really hard for me. My inner critics are loud, bossy, and opinionated. And that’s just my inner critics; forget about my loved ones who want what’s best for me…according to them. It can be hard to stand up for myself to all of them when I still have so many doubts and fears. Because you know what? I don’t know what I’m doing.

In this time of personal turmoil, I’ve gotten so bogged down in the mundane that I’ve forgotten how to practice my spirituality. And, you want to know a secret? I’m scared to get back into a regular practice. To me, it feels like coming home way after curfew, smelling of cigarette smoke, and you know your mom is up waiting for you. At times, I still see my deities as disappointed parents. I’ve been trying to put the magical in the daily (giving thanks to Yemaya in the shower, singing praise to Crow in my car). I’m trying to appreciate all the things I do and accomplish. I’m trying to see the beauty of just being in the grace of the deities who have blessed me by choosing me as one of their beloved. But it’s hard for me to set aside my tendencies to be an overachiever in my spiritual life.

I feel like I should be able to “just” set aside all of my faults in this one area of my life. My altars should be maintained, my meditation practice should be daily, I should give of my time freely and easily to the community and oh yeah, not be critical of my execution of my faith. In other words, I should not be me but maybe Kuan Yin instead. But then . . .aren’t all our flaws and graces amplified in this area of our lives? I’ve been crueler, more selfish, more demanding, harsher, less trusting, less attentive, angrier, and sadder in my faith than I have in any other part of my life. I’ve also been more selfless, kinder, more nurturing, more faithful, more ecstatic, and most peaceful than any other part of my life.

When I can tell my inner critic to take a nap for a little while, I can still see the beauty of my practice, even now. I can see kitchen Witching for Lammas and singing Bridget’s song to Her while I make pan after pan of food with my fellow kitchen Witches and letting a friend cry into my apron when she needed to. I can see myself at the Jersey shore, introducing one of my loves to Yemaya and twirling and throwing white roses into Her sea. I can see my Crow side teasing my friend while I read her Tarot and sort out her love life. I can see my shaman self, dancing to the universal heartbeat at a goth club, dripping in sweat, being brave enough to get on a table and dance my offerings to the Universe and yes, as if no one is watching. And I have to hold onto these pieces of myself during this difficult time, tighter than I’d hold a box from Tiffany’s, because it’s what reminds me that I am part of this universe. It reminds me that I do bring wonder and joy, even when it’s harder to see. Most importantly, it reminds me that following my path to my secret heart is indeed full of miracles and wonders if I can see them through my tears.

Additional Resources for Soul Searching:

Truth or Dare : Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery by Starhawk: A powerful exploration into using our spiritual power as women to make changes in our own lives, our community, and our world.

Office Sutras: Exercises for Your Soul at Work by Marcia Menter: A very helpful little book with ideas on how to find soulfulness at your current job and how to figure out what will make you happy in the workplace in the long term.

Planet Sark: A beautiful, colorful website with lots of kindred spirits figuring out their life’s path with some really great resources.

The Honesty Room by Dar Williams: A lyrically amazing, gorgeously sung cd that will make you laugh and cry and think about your life.

MY WICCA (Part 4 of 5)

MY WICCA (Part 4 of 5)
By Durwydd MacTara

b) It is the use of differing god forms, of differing
ethnic sources or periods, which is the basis of many of
the differences between the various Traditions of the
Craft. Each Tradition uses the forms, and thus the names,
which to that Tradition best express and awaken an
understanding of the force represented, according to the
areas of emphasis of the Tradition.

c) Because we know that differing names or
representations are but expressions of the same divine
principles and forces, we require our members to swear
that they will never mock the names by which another
honors the Divine, even though those names be different
from and seemingly less expressive than the names and god
forms used by our Tradition (for to the members of
another Tradition, using it’s names, ours may easily seem
equally less expressive).

8. A Witch refuses to allow her/himself to be corrupted by the great
guilt neuroses which have been foisted on humanity in the name of the
Divine, thus freeing the self of the slavery of the mind. The Witch
expresses responsibility for her/his actions, and accepts the consequen-
ces of them; guilt is rejected as inhibiting to one’s self-actualiza-
tion, and replaced by the efforts of the Witch to obey the teachings of
harmlessness, responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions, and
the goal of actualizing the full powers of the individual.

a) We refuse to believe that a human being is born
innately sinful, and recognize the concepts of sin and
guilt are tremendously inhibiting to the human potential;
the consequences of the Law of Cause and Effect, called
karma by some, are not punishment, but the recurrences of
situations and their effects because the individual has
not gained the Wisdom needed to handle or avoid such

b) There is no heaven except that which we ourselves make
of our life on Earth, and likewise there is no hell
except the effects of our unwise actions. Many of us believe
in a “waiting place” sometimes called Summerland where we rest,
recuperate and prepare for our next sojurn in the earth. “Death
is not followed by punishment or reward, but by life and the
continuing personal evolution of our human potential.

c) One cannot damn the divine in oneself; one can,
however, cut oneself off from it through the rejection of
wisdom and a refusal to strive for self-realization.
This cutting off does not lead to personal suffering in
“hell”, for there is no Self to suffer if the tie to
one’s own divinity has been severed; what remains is
merely an empty shell, a “personality” or thought-form
devoid of it’s ensouling Spark of the Divine Fire.