Wishing All Our Dear Family & Friends A Very Blessed & Most of All Warm Monday! Brrrr, Baby It Is Cold Outside!

M.L.K. memorial

Martin Luther King

January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

 

Today we take time out of our busy schedules to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. He was an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his religious beliefs.

On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. In 1965, he helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the following year he and SCLC took the movement north to Chicago to work on segregated housing. In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include poverty and speak against the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled “Beyond Vietnam”.

In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People’s Campaign, when he was assassinated on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. His death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities.

King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a holiday in numerous cities and states beginning in 1971, and as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986. Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor, and a county in Washington State was also renamed for him. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 2011.

Dr. King was assassinated before I was born but I have seen images of one of his speeches that has come to be known as one of the greatest speeches in American History. That speech was “I Have A Dream” and it is still inspiring people to this day.

 

I Have A Dream

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.

 

We can only pray that we have learned from our history and that those mistakes of the past never be allowed to occur again. More importantly, that we never stand by and let those injustices occur again, no matter what the race or religion might be.

 

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Since It Is National Pet Month, Our Favorite Familiar For The Day!

Name: Lewy
Age: Six years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Tabby Shorthair
Home: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
He’s special in every way! He follows me everywhere I go, he is always there to comfort me when I’m sad, or in pain. He’s the sweetest cat ever! He’s very special to me!Lewy is a very affectionate kinds of cat. He lives attention! I have three poodles that he loves, and loves to chase them through the house playing! He will hide behind furniture, and wait until one poodle comes out and runs up behind them and gently slaps them in the tail! Another favorite thing Lewy likes to do is eat! He loves his wet food! He will run to the kitchen, then run back to me and meow, to let me know it’s time to feed him! He enjoys sitting in the windows and watching birds as any normal cat would do. He can be lazy, but he is a great companion to have!

Walking The Path As A Public Witch

Walking The Path As A Public Witch

Author:   Medea 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Animal Spirit for August 19th is the Raccoon

Your Animal Spirit for Today
    August 19, 2013 

Raccoon

This masked bandit can make you laugh with his antics, or make you angry when you realize he’s made off with your food! Raccoon is incredibly curious—to the point that he’ll walk into a potentially dangerous situation just to see what’s up. Like Raccoon, are there situations you’re barging into before you have all the information? Might want to re-think this one.

Walking The Path As A Public Witch

Walking The Path As A Public Witch

Author: Medea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Witches’ Daily Affirmation

Witches’ Affirmation

A witch is…

One who has power over her/his own life
One who makes his/her own rules, but can abide by the rules of Nature
One who refuses to submit to self-denial
One who recognizes no authority with greater esteem than her/his own, who is loyal to self
One who is untamed and tamed
One who transforms energy for the good of all
One who can be passionate about her/his ideals and values as they are changing
One who is explosive, whose intensity is like volcanoes, floods, winds, and fire
One who is disorderly and orderly
One who is ecstatic
One who alters reality
One who says, “I am a witch” aloud three times

“I am a witch”
“I am a witch”
“I am a witch”

Wiccan Chat

82-Year-Old Nun Shuts Down Top-Secret Nuclear Facility

82-Year-Old Nun Shuts Down Top-Secret Nuclear Facility

by Judy Molland

Three activists, including an 82-year-old nun, have succeeded in closing temporarily the US government’s  only facility for handling, processing and storing weapons-grade uranium.

With the “Nuns on the Bus” tour for social justice in full swing, it  seems that social activism is defining a lot of nuns in the US. Excellent!

The facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, also known as “The Atomic City,” was shut down on Wednesday after at least three protesters,  including 82-year-old Megan Rice, cut through perimeter fences to reach the  outer wall of a building where highly enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb  component, is stored.

This is awesome news; the facility is enormous, seemingly impenetrable, and  dominates the town of Oak Ridge. That anyone even had the idea to try and break  in is inspiring.

Ironically, WSI Oak Ridge, the private contractor responsible for protecting  the facility, is a subsidiary of the world’s biggest security firm G4S, which came up short by 3,500 of the 10,400 security guards  it had guaranteed to provide  at the Olympic Games in London.

Time for this security company to do some re-evaluating, maybe?

From rawstory:

The activists, who called themselves Transform  Now Plowshares, painted slogans and threw what they said was human blood on the  wall of the facility, according to government officials.

Although the activists triggered security sensors  they were still able to reach the building’s walls before WSI Oak Ridge staff  intercepted them.

In a statement the three activists said they had  passed through four fences and walked for “over two hours” before reaching the  uranium storage building, on which they hung banners and crime-scene tape.

The activists’ spokeswoman, Ellen Barfield, said  three were arrested and charged with vandalism and criminal trespass.

The three, identified as Megan Rice, 82, Michael Walli, 63, and Greg  Boertje-Obed, 57, are being held in custody and appeared for a hearing on  Thursday before a US magistrate judge in Knoxville, Tennessee.

A detention hearing was set for today, when prosecutors must show the  defendants are a flight risk and a danger to the community in order to keep them  in custody, according to court officials. The trial date is 9 October.

Not surprisingly, a spokeswoman for G4S declined to comment, but government  officials said the contents of the facility were not compromised.

But somebody is going to get into big trouble for this security breach.

The security failure was an embarrassment both for the security firm and for  the National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA, the Energy Department  branch that operates U.S. nuclear weapons plants. “It was obviously a pretty  serious incident,” NNSA spokesman Joshua McConaha told Reuters.

Peter Stockton, a former congressional investigator and security consultant  to the Energy Department, expressed skepticism at government assertions the nuclear  material was not at risk.

“It is unbelievable this could happen,” Stockton told Reuters. “The significance is outrageous. If  they were terrorists, they could have blown open the door and got inside.”

I think we need to re-think our image of nuns!

I Am A Witch

Witchy Comments

I Am A Witch
by Sandi Thomas

When I stand up for myself and my beliefs, they call me a “Witch”.
When I stand up for those I love, they call me a Witch.
When I speak my mind, think my own thoughts, or do things my own way, they call me a Witch.

Being a witch entails raising my children to be strong people

Who have a solid sense of personal and social responsibility

Who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in
Who love and respect themselves for the beautiful beings they are.

Being a witch means that I am free to be the wonderful creature I am,
With all my own intricacies, contradictions, quirks and beauty.
Being a witch means I won’t compromise what’s in my heart.
It means I live my life MY way. It means I won’t allow anyone to step on me.

When I refuse to tolerate injustice and speak up against it, I am defined as a witch.
The same thing happens when I take time for myself instead of being everyone else’s maid or when I act a little selfish.

I am proud to be a witch! It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be who I truly am and won’t become anyone else’s idea of what they think I “should” be.

I am outspoken, opinionated and determined.
By Goddess, I want what I want and there is nothing wrong with that!

So, try to stomp on me, try to douse my inner flame, try to squash every ounce of beauty I hold within me. You won’t succeed.

And if that makes me a witch, so be it. I embrace the title and am proud to bear it. I love this, I can call myself a witch now and not feel bad about it!

SO MOTE IT BE!

Which Witch is Witch?

Which Witch is Witch?

Author: Autumn’s Witch

I have been reading a lot lately about what it means to be a Witch. This is a topic very close to home and one that I now feel compelled to comment on.

I grew up on a small farm in rural Tennessee. When I was about seven or eight years old my grandmother explained to me that she was a Witch and by heredity so was I. To me, this didn’t seem like a great revelation but it was confusing because the only real concept I had of what a Witch was, was the either scary hags in fairy tales or the over the top witch called “Witch Hazel” from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. But as time went by, my grandmother tutored me in the ways of The Goddess and pretty soon I had a completely new concept of what being a Witch meant. It was someone who nurtured the earth and worshiped the divinely submerged power in nature and life. It was someone who looked to The Goddess with complete, unquestioning love. It was someone who healed wounds and tended broken hearts. It was someone who helped the needy and stood up to the bullies. It was someone who understood the divine gift of magic. It was someone who was filled with kindness, charity and warmth, even at times when others weren’t. Above all else, it was someone who devoted their lives to being a reflection of the Goddess. Someone who made every second of life sacred.

To this day, I live my life in accordance to the above. I will until the day I die. There is no question of why or how. My life is in devotion to my Goddess and I do it freely with all of my heart and soul. I can’t change who I am any more than a tiger can change its stripes. It defines who I am.

Being a Witch is a lifestyle not only and life choice. There are responsibilities, duties and obligations. It is not a life for everyone nor should it be.

When I first started calling myself a Witch, it was something only done it private. Back in the 1970s rural Tennessee had no tolerance for Witches, especially in Baptist country. I remember feeling so weird at school on holidays. I remember how I had to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. I remember being forced to pray and worship something I did not hold sacred. It was a very scary and frustrating time in my life. But the thing I hated most was when people openly called me a Christian. It was brutal and it made me nauseous. I remember crying on the way home, jealous that I couldn’t be who I wanted to be. I prayed to The Goddess that someday I could be open and free with who and what I was. Little did I know, that day was not too far off.

Flash forward to the 1990’s. I was amazed how the Pagan/Wiccan community sort if just came alive. All of a sudden there were thousands of people calling themselves Witches. There were dozens of books at the bookstores on the topic. It appeared as if there was a rebirth of the old ways. I was a happy as I could be. It was nice to be able to say in public that I was a Witch.

But alas, I found that things were not as they seemed. It became obvious after a few years, that all these people who all of a sudden were calling themselves Witches, were not exactly what I had expected. It was a hard time for me. I wanted to help people understand. But it seemed as if there were dozens of theories on what it meant to be a Witch. There were stringent rules and rituals and processes and so on. This was all very different than what I had been taught. There were times when I wondered to myself, how can we all be Witches? There were groups diametrically opposed to each other. Rules, regulations and red tape seemed to more important than the root passion of our spirituality.

Then people started calling me Wiccan or Wicca. I was stunned. I had never in all my life been called that. So I studied up on this whole Wicca thing. It was in no way a reflection of who I was and how I worshiped. And frankly I didn’t like being associated with it at all. For many years I would glare at anyone calling me Wiccan. As the 90’s ended I became aware of the general debate of Witch versus Wiccan.

Now I am not going to debate the merits or academic ramifications of what the words Wicca or Witch means. I have an extensive scholastic background but I don’t feel this issue is something that should be debated that way. But let me say simply this. I am a Witch. I have been my whole life. That is the only label that I will accept. I have no problems with anyone else calling themselves Wiccans or Witches. But I do take issue when people try to label me something I am not. I respect everyone’s right to call themselves what ever they like. I also respect other’s limits and opinions. At the same times I expect others to respect my limits.

The Wiccan/Pagan community does need unity, but in the rush to create an all inclusive sense of unity, some of us have been trampled below. I love Pagans and Wiccans. They are my brothers and sisters. I support our cause but no matter how it’s all wrapped or presented, I am a Witch, above all else. I do not want to be labeled anything other than what I am. It is an insult to my, my family and everything being a Witch stands for. Please respect our choice to be who we are and who we are not.

Special Kitty of the Day for April 5

Panda, the Cat of the Day
Name: Panda
Age: Six and a half years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Manx mix
Home: Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA
Here’s a picture of my Pandabear lounging on top of the hot tub. We call him Panda for short. He’s a great cat, and is obviously a Manx mix, as he’s got luxurious medium-length fluffy coat, but just a bit of a tail, as you can see. It’s good that he has that tail, small as it is, as otherwise Manx can have some spine problems, especially the “rumpy” ones with no tail. Manx cats with his length of tail are called Stumpy Manx, but he doesn’t let that bother him at all. He’s a great cat with a soft, pettable coat, and we all love him.