Tag Archive | pagan blog post

G is for my Garden – a Pagan Blog Post

Things I’ve learned by gardening

I’ve learned that beauty can be in the most amazing things. The first glimpse of a seed poking through the dirt, butterflies and hummingbirds and the lowly earthworm. All the colours and shades of green and that even in winter there is something to appreciate.

I’ve learned patience – that plants take their own sweet time and that some take years to get to where you want them.

I’ve learned that you have to be ruthless and willing to kill. Nothing thrives in a garden if there are bad bugs so you have to fight with things like soap and predator bugs like ladybugs and decollated snails. That pruning helps a plant many times and that you have to be willing to cut one you love down. And that pretty copper tape and stale beer work wonders killing snails.

You can’t be vegan and be a gardener. The best fertilizers are urine, blood and bone meal. If you are using chemical fertilizers sometimes you are robbing your soil. Compost alone won’t do it for many plants and you need blood and bone.

You have to be willing to take the time to put a plant where it will be happy and not just put it where you want it.

You have to learn to share with the squirrels and the skunks and the opossums and the deer. You aren’t alone in the world.

I’ve learned that plants can communicate and that if you are patient it’s not hard to learn how and to listen to them and I’m not talking about plant devas, that is a different kind of communication.

I’ve learned that the world outside my door is a wonderous, beautiful place and that my garden is a place of rest and constant warfare on a small scale. That spiders can be vicious killing machines and strangely beautiful at the same time.

I love my garden.

F is for family faeries – A Pagan Blog Post

I think every Scottish family has their own set of Fae folk that came with them from the old country. Whether they know it or not they are there. I’m lucky in that we were aware they were with us. I haven’t figured out how they split and come back together but they seem to when the family moves away and then comes back. I know that when I moved out on my own they came with me. I wasn’t really aware of their presence until I was living by myself. And when I moved in with my sister the ones that had been at my parent’s house came with her and mine came with me.

When you live with other people it’s easy to think that strange things that happen are being done by another human but when you live alone you don’t have that excuse. When things move and you live alone it kind of hits you in the face. And the Fae are not the same as the family ghosts who also visit from time to time.

It was readily apparent that something was living in the apartment with me from the moment I moved in to an apartment by myself. There were tiny lights that would move around the room that the cat would fixate on and hunt. Stuff moved around the apartment. I keep a key hook by the front door for a reason and that is where I put my keys the minute I enter the house so when they go moving across rooms to places I haven’t gone you knew something was up.

Sometimes it’s a shadow where nothing should leave one or something just barely moving or moving too quickly out of the corner of your eye. Has the cat or dog ever acted like someone pulled their tail? Or was riding them around the room?

I had to teach a workshop with Fimo and had bought a lot of tiny cookie cutter shapes to take. They were packaged nicely and I put them in my kit to take. I had a tackle box for every craft I taught. I got to the place where I was teaching and no cutters. We improvised but I was not happy. I got home and there in the middle of the room in their bag were the cutters with nothing else any where near them and the distinct feeling something was laughing at me. This kind of thing can make you a little nuts.

Many times I have been missing something and stood in the middle of a room and asked nicely for whatever the article was an it usually appears within hours, sometimes a few days if they want to teach a lesson but always in a place I haven’t been or on the flip side the place I turned inside out first like my purse or backpack.

I have learned that when I move the easiest way to deal with it is as the last thing invite them to move with me. I do it before I lock the door for the last time. Usually lying on the floor because there is now no furniture in the apartment or house and extend an invitation and leave the door open enough for something to leave with me. When I get to the new place I invite them in and I leave an offering the first night of milk and honey or sugar or sometimes butter which I have found they like almost as much as the cats.

So next time you see a shadow moving across the baseboard turn your head and watch out of the corner of your eye. You might see something that surprises you.

Note: While I was writing this, my work badge came unclipped and after making the rounds of everywhere I had been on the floor and searching my cubicle first, it appeared under a file cabinet. Not funny, guys. Seriously? Leave me alone at work and go home! Time for an offering tonight, I guess.

Even pagans need the 10 Essentials – a Pagan Blog Post

Even pagans need the 10 Essentials and even pagans, wiccans and druids can get caught in the wilds and have accidents. There are no excuses for not being prepared because your patron deity may decide you need to be more practical or at least use your brain and not intervene. The Goddess gave you a brain and expects you to use it not to beg for help after you have an attack of the stupids.

Everybody at some point who spends any significant time in nature will have cause to use something on this list. Hopefully, not everything on one trip but it’s better to have it and not need it than to go out and need it and not have it.

When I was doing a lot of Girl Scout backpacking we always made everyone carry the 10 essentials plus a few that we thought were musts.

We made everyone carry all of them because one doesn’t know if something will happen to yours or someone else’s supplies or if you are going to get lost or separated from the group. Shit Happens and it’s best to know that Murphy’s Law is ever vigilant and I still carry them in my car at all times. I also still sleep with my shoes, a flashlight and a pair of pants at the end of my bed like we had to do every night at GS camp. I’ve had lovers laugh at me for that but every time there was an earthquake I had my stuff.

Anyway here are the 10 Essentials plus a few necessary extras. And Day hikers need to carry them to because you just don’t know.

1. Map and I don’t mean cheating and using a GPS locator only. What if the batteries die or you drop the thing in the stream. Learn to be a competent map reader. It really isn’t that hard.

2. Compass – Do not use near a car. It will think the car’s engine is north. I once watched a bunch of GS leaders set up an orienteering course before everyone got there and laughed my butt off when they had laid it through the parking lot.

3. Headlamp/Flashlight and extra batteries. Can be used as a distress signal, you can shine it straight up at night and since it looks like a fire someone will come to investigate. And with a wrapper from a stick of gum can start a fire in an emergency.

4. Extra food – well duh.

5. Extra clothing – yes if it’s hot it will be a pain to carry but do it anyway. You can get one of those foldable rain ponchos in a pouch and just stick it in a pocket and forget it til you need it.

6. Sunglasses – This is one I have trouble with. I’m always losing them and since they are clip ons, it’s a pain in the rear.

7. First Aid kit – Carry at least a small one. I always add a few things like change for a pay phone (if you can find one). A large menstrual pad. (It may sound gross but they are the best pressure bandages around and tampons can stop a nose bleed that’s really bad.) Meat Tenderizer (the absolute best thing for dealing with bee stings, wasp bites and any other creepy crawly that has something like bee venom.) The snake bite kit you can probably leave at home even if you are bitten it might do more harm than good.

8. Pocket knife – Me loves a Swiss Army knife. Make sure it’s the kind with tweezers and the toothpick. They can be useful at the oddest times.

9. Water Proof matches – and wind proof if you can find them. You can water proof some wood matches by sticking them in clear nail polish or parafin. Put them in a metal container like an Altoids box, and if you want needle and thread can be stuck in there too.

10.Fire starter. If it’s wet you will need it or a pink lady candle (these are gross but edible if you had to.

Extras – Water bottles and water, personally I think this should be in the 10. and for backpacking, water purification tablets too. Water is probably the heaviest thing you can carry but if you don’t you could be very sorry. Dehydration can set in even if you are cold. If you have a cell phone you might want to download a dehydration chart so you can tell how dehydrated you are.

Whistle – you can hear one of these a long way in the wilderness.

Insect repellant or long sleeves and long pants. Be careful of the colour. Bees are attracted to yellow, reds and oranges and if you are allergic you might not want to wear them. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours like dark brown, blue and green.

Sunscreen – everyone needs it at high altitude not just red headed white people.

Bandana – You can do all sorts of miraculous things with just one bandana, It can be a sling, hold a bandage, hold gear together, cover your head, cover your face in a sudden dust storm or smoke. Signal your preference on the gay hanky code, just kidding.

Cell phone – in this day and age it couldn’t hurt and it certainly helped the people lost on Mt Hood a few years ago.

I’d personally add a book because I can’t be alone and not read, and paper and a pen for notes.

So next time the coven, grove or group is out for a ritual or walk in the wild, please be prepared.

D is for DoS or Disc of Shadows

D is for Disc of Shadows or DOS

image

Yes, I’m a punny witch if you hadn’t figured that out long ago and I’m also a techno-pagan who embraced computers back in the 80’s at work and in the early 90’s when I could afford one at home. Hard to believe my first computer had a much smaller memory than my smart phone does and was such a huge monster compared to my laptop now. For the record my first computer was top of the HP line and had 152mb.

Before converting to a DoS I had had to have a new paper Bos every year. I filled it up in a year. The picture has just a few of them because the shelf below contains the old composition books that I used for many years.

The opening of the world of technology meant I could write faster and at a closer rate to what my mind was moving at. And for those who sneer at a DoS remember that a BoS was once new technology too. One of the reasons there isn’t a lot of written practice around was that reading and writing were often not open to people and that paper was made of sheep skins or other highly expensive or difficult to obtain materials. They also scraped off the writing and used them again and again. So before you cling to your BoS because it’s allegedly “traditional” remember it was new once too and your ancestors jumped at the chance to have this “new” tech.

My books/discs of shadows contain anything I find memorable and might want to have a record of in the future. And in fact, this blog and my blog that I kept for many years over on LJ perform a lot of the same functions with the added advantage of being able to search by keyword. Try that in a multitude of books covering many years. I’ve had a BoS/DoS since 1984. That’s a lot of words, drawings and spaces.

So what’s in them? Rituals, reading, chants I’ve written, herbs and things growing in my garden and status of that, spells, results of the rituals, songs, poems, drawings, ideas, prayers, recipes for food, incense and oils, books I’ve liked and books I thought were dreck, journal entries, ghosts encounters, when family members showed up who are no longer corporeal, dreams and if they came true, basically anything I felt I needed to remember.

Because I now have a smart phone and a digital camera I can add photos and ideas to the DoS from anywhere and don’t need to scurry for a piece of paper. This was problem in the car when story ideas would assault me and demand to be written when stopped at a stop light. It’s much easier to pull out my phone and open note/word processing app and make a quick note and not worry I’ll forget it. It’s also sits by my bed at night in case I need to note something down or record a dream.

So the only thing I fear is a power failure or the charger not working and if that fails I still have paper to fall back on. Electrons are just as magical to me as any piece of paper and they take up a lot less room.

A Curse is a prayer to harm someone

Cursing is a prayer to cause someone harm. A spell is a prayer sometimes with physical components and always with directed intent. The physical components like a candle or herb are to help you focus the energy that you want to send out or direct but you are always asking for help from the universe or a deity and that makes a curse a prayer.

Now I have no problem cursing some one that is doing or has done you physical or mental harm, if that harm can be verified by an objective outside party. (I don’t mean actually asking someone unless you are uncertain whether it really is harm but if you would hesitate to ask maybe it really isn’t harm.) So go ahead and hex a rapist or other person that has done harm to you like rob your house that harm already done is equal by far to any blow back but and it’s a really big BUT if it wasn’t physical was it harm you caused and you got what you deserved?

Too often we cause people to say hurtful things or do things we don’t like. That doesn’t constitute harm no matter how mad you are. Did you behave badly? Are you behaving like a petulant child in a relationship and you got slapped down? Are you the one with the bad attitude? Have you been wanting something your own way and you just didn’t get it and now you want to fling a curse? That is a slippery slope and I advise several hours or meditation on your own part of whatever happened. And did you do everything you could to avert whatever happened.

Bad grades are not enough to throw a curse. You didn’t do the work. Someone bad mouthing you is not enough to throw a curse. What did you say or do to them? And it may be as little as ignoring someone instead of acknowledging them or nasty face on your part. You caused it by your behaviour and you and only you are responsible for that.

Too many times we do not always have the maturity to see where we are the cause of other people’s actions towards us and part of being a witch is having the maturity and the honesty to truly look at what we are responsible for causing. We have a responsibility to be kind and not bad mouth someone even if you think they will never hear what you said. We have a responsibility to be inclusive and not act like one of the “mean girls”. It can be as subtle as a look on your face. People know and read body language. They know if you give them a look like you are better than them or that you think they are beneath you.

That being said, I still only ever use two spells and not very often and even less as I get older. One is putting someone in the freezer to stop their actions but remember stopping someone’s actions can mean they can’t always behave better, remember? You froze them.

And two, the mirror or Christmas ball spell to make someone’s actions reflect back on them. If they do good, good is accelerated and if they do something bad then they get whomped, however you may never see the whomp. You can’t sit and wait in anticipation of them getting hurt. That would be wrong and a really immature but human attitude.

So just because someone made you mad or cut you off in traffic do you really want to go out of your way to throw that curse? If you do then I suggest you have some growing up to do before you throw it.

B is for Brighid and her Flamekeepers – A Pagan Blog Post

B is for Brighid and her Flamekeepers

I became one of Brighid’s flamekeepers back in 1998 when I took a class in something called Haedery taught by a woman who was also taught Scottish ways by her grandmother. We clicked immediately and while she is no longer in my life I will be eternally grateful for the things I learned from her and this is a big one.

She had been doing this for some time and gave us our first “Brighided” candles meaning they had been lit from a candle that had travelled from Kildare and kindled in the flame there at the shrine and well. I think most of us that agreed to do it are still doing it every 20 days. We at one time were the largest group of flamekeepers in one place outside of Ireland. The Haeders that stayed all eventually became part of the Temple of Isis/Los Angeles and most of us have our own Iseums and some of us also have formed a Grove in the Druid Clan of Dana which are the Fellowship of Isis’s Druid contingent. If you are part of the Fellowship you can have any patron/personal deity and quite a few of us are following the Gaels who are our foremothers. So it’s been 14 or 15 years of following Brighid and some of the other goddesses, keeping her flame, taking prayer requests and walking in her footsteps.

The Irish sometimes describe her as being blond but for some reason across the Irish sea in Scotland she has red hair. I like to think she has dark red hair like mine even though I started out as a toe head blond.

She is still the one I sing to when I need help and along with the Knot of Isis, it’s a prayer that is close to my heart.

Brighid, bean-oirdheirc

Lasrach grad

Fetaim lasrach soilse’

Thoir cuireadh sinne

Ris a’ bheatha

Mhaireannach.

Brighid, Sublime woman

Quick flame

Long may you burn bright!

You give us the invitation

To life everlasting.

When I was ordained I was given a bottle of waters collected from all over the world including the well in Kildare and the well in Glastonbury. I still have the bottle and quite a lot is left that I have used to anoint people who need blessing and we have used it in our coven’s Candlemas ritual every year as the blessing to enter Circle.

My flameshift is the 3rd shift and I’m in the Elder Cell –Cill Trom, and my shift starts Sunday night just before her holiday.

Should you like to join the website below is open to all. There are Women only cells, Co-ed Cells and Men only cells. So you can join the one that calls to you however you identify. There is a wealth of information, stories, prayers and other things dedicated to Brighid on the site.

Http://www.ordbrighideach.org

I just started reading a book I’ve had for ages: The Rites of Brigid – Goddess and Saint by Sean o Duinn, osb. If you want more info I suggest you get a copy of Carmina Gadelica – Hymns and Incantations collected by Alexander Carmichael.

PBP topic list

I thought I’d write a list of possible topics for myself ahead of time so I can stop stressing about it like it’s an overdue homework assignment. Nothing is writ in stone and I reserve the right to right on these topics before they’re due because I might get excited about it.

Possible PBP Postings (I like alliteration)

Already did “A is for Attitude” and Ancestors

B is for Brighid, BunniHoTep, blogging, Body art, blueprint paper magic, beading

C is for Cats or catoyancy or charoite, carnelian, copper, camping

D is for Drawing, DOS (disc of Shadows)

E is for Elves, Ethics, emeralds,

F is for familiars, Foremothers

G is for gems, garden spells, glass spells, geek fandoms & pagans

H is for Hair Spells, Heart Town Witch, herbs, Healing

I is for Incense, Incense recipes

J is for Jewelry,

K is for Knot magic (celtic)

L is for Light, Leaves, Los Angeles pagan community (past and present)

M is for Manzanita, music, in memory, magic, Murray the parking god rituals

N is for NO,

O is for Oak, Oils, Oracles,

P is for Poetry, Prayers, photography (archiving) pagan fiction

Q is for Quiet, Queer paganism

R is for Risk taking, Redwood, Rede

S is for Storytelling, Spirits of Place, silvermithing, silver craft

T is for Truth, Teas, tarot, Tiffany –child goddess of malls, tyet knot

U is for Understanding,

V is for Domestic Violence in the community

W is for Weekend Witches, wood spells, Who are you?

X is for xeriscaping

Y is for Ygdrassil, saying yes to receiving

Z is for Zoos, Zelda Goddess of shopping

A is for Attitude A Pagan Blog post

I did this last year and burned out when the letters got on the weird side. Let’s see if I can finish this time but I’m going to allow myself the freedom to only post once on a letter if that is all I have to say.

A is for Attitude

What is your default attitude?

Is it the world weary I know all I need to know? Is it ho-hum another day? Is it snarky or cynical or just plain pessimistic?

Or is it ooh, what can the world show me today? What is beautiful that I’m missing?

I’ve written on this before but I think an attitude of wonder is essential to being pagan. If you think that paganism is only in books or only learned in circle or that you can’t do it without a “proper” teacher, or any other reason that it is wonderful to be alive on this plane, you have missed the point.

I feel sorry for you.

And I don’t mean an airy faery kind of everything is always wonderful attitude. I mean seeing what is there and wondering, is it beautiful? Is it something I can help if it’s broken or hurt? Is it something I can appreciate? Or is it something I can just lift up a prayer to the universe to, such as when you see an ambulance. Do you automatically send calming or healing energy? Even if it’s just to the first responders?

I have an inherited predisposition toward depression. I know it isn’t easy. I know how easy it is to be negative but does that help you or anyone around you?

The cure for me is to go stand outside. To take a walk, if I can’t because the weather is too bad, I’ll stand in the open door. It’s one of the many reasons I sleep with the window open. Even if I get cold I know I’m alive and in my body. I spent a great deal of time as a child out of my body and I have to fight the tendency every day to check out into my head. To escape.

To escape pain, To escape a parent’s rage or the other parent’s indifference. To escape into a book or just into my head where they couldn’t reach me and hurt me again. Thank heavens for my grandparents that taught me it was okay to be in my body and feel alive in it. Even if it was something as simple as lying on my stomach on the wraparound porch watching the ants.

So today, what is your attitude? Try to move the default setting to wonder and awe or just compassion and awareness. But move it from self to outside yourself. I think you will be glad you did.

Surprises while teaching Wicca 101 A pagan blog post

When I was teaching Wicca 101 I was almost always graced with students that had already done some reading and were invested in learning. A lot of my students were referred from covens that didn’t want to teach a rank beginner even the basics so their potential HPs sent them to me. This was very flattering but I did get one whopper of an idiot that way.

I think the HP wanted me to find a way to convince this student that maybe being a pagan wasn’t the best path for her. She had been to many open pagan events and had gone to this coven and the HP had sent her on to me. ( maybe sicced is a better term) It was one I could have easily done without. She was what I would politely call willfully stupid. To be quite frank, she was a donkey’s anal sphincter.

She had not done any reading and when confronted with the reading list informed me that she had not read a book since college and she wasn’t going to start now. The rest of the class just stared at her, a pagan that doesn’t read? Not possible. I should have bounced her right there.

At one point I was explaining about the human’s part in the web of life and she got incensed informing that that no human was an animal. SHE was above animals and again the class stared at her and like always she seemed to be immune to anything anyone else felt or thought. It was readily apparent that she was the center of her world and no one else’s opinion but hers mattered. By the 5th week I couldn’t believe she was still coming and had decided if she did show up for the 6th I was not going to allow her to participate in the path commitment ceremony because it was like talking to a door and about as useful. Thankfully, she finally did not show up for the last class much to everyone else’s relief. But having her in class made the other students think and participate more as if to show me they at least had brains and did care to be there.

She did have some really funny things happen to her though. She always sat next to one of my bookcases and once one of my brooms decided to fall on her for no reason anyone could see and every time I put it back in the corner it fell on her again. It happened 3 times in a row before I decided to move the broom across the room. That broom had never done that before. My familiar bit her. The only one he ever bit in all the years of teaching I did it in my apartment. And my harp fell on her after my broom was moved. If nothing else, we got entertainment value out of her.

The only other problem I ever had was with a High Priest who turned out to be really creepy. I got two really excellent students from our Feral newsletter. They showed up with their book of shadows that I didn’t get a chance to look at for the first few weeks until they started expressing a lot of surprise at what I was teaching about how a HP should treat his students and working positively and not negatively. It turned out he took hair and nail cuttings from his students and told them he would use them to hurt them if they left. My first clue that I might be in trouble was that I got a threatening email from the HP saying I was stealing his students and that he would “get me”. It wasn’t until the next class that I got a look at the book of shadows and it was full of the nastiest sets of spells I think I had ever seen. Mostly focused on how to hurt people that somehow were all out to hurt you. There were spells for controlling people. There were hardly any positive spells in the Xeroxed book. I then found out one of them was going to be my client at the AIDS Service Center where I was on call clergy for anyone pagan.. (I’m not divulging anything here of someone’s privacy since the gentleman in question has passed on to the Summerlands.) And that this poor student rented a studio behind the HP’s house. The threats escalated wildly from this HP and I upped all my wards and when he tried to attack me at one of our Hallows gatherings he was met by several of the Asatru guys who saw him start to follow my car. They informed him in no uncertain terms what would happen to him in detail if he ever touched a hair on my head. If I hadn’t been so scared at the time it would have been amusing since it was an unlighted parking lot and it was at the only open business for blocks. . One of the reasons I wasn’t real happy with him was he lived on the continuation of my street on the other side of the freeway. Quite literally, less than a mile away from me. Thankfully he never followed the student to my class. Not fun! It takes quite a lot to scare me and this guy did.

He didn’t bother me again and the students finished the class but not too long after, my client died of a rather strange drug overdose they labeled an accident but during a meditation not too long after I got the impression that he was very surprised to be dead and not quite sure how it had happened and I wondered. The woman student disappeared and I don’t think I’ve seen her since. The night he went after me was the first time I had ever seen this HP at a pagan event so thankfully he isn’t out and about that I know of in the community. I never found out how my students connected with him but he was one bad dude. That Book of Shadows made my hair stand on end.

Pagan v Queer – a Pagan Blog Post

Part 3

I debated for several days about writing that post about Gay v Pagan. I’m lucky, I live in LA where there is a lot less prejudice than in other parts of the country or indeed, the world. And I think there is one more thing to talk about that is greatly misunderstood. Conservatives and bigots like to say “gay” is a lifestyle, that we choose to be gay.

Let me make this perfectly clear. No one chooses to be gay. The only choice involved is whether you come out. Whether you choose to be an open authentic person or whether you choose to hide because you think it’s going to be easier. That is cowardice and that kills children. Some estimates are as high as 25% of teen suicides are because the child is dealing with the issue of whether they are gay and what to do about the people around them saying gays are evil. Teens often make the leap from I’m gay to I’m evil because everyone around them says gays are evil. One + two = three is an equation of evil. Every time that a child commits suicide for being gay I think every right wing bigot ought to be indicted for murder because they are the ones guilty of making that child so desperate that they take their lives. No child should be made to feel that they are evil. The bigots may not tie the knot of take the handful of pills but make no mistake about it – they are guilty of murder.

I did not wake up one morning and decide to make my life more difficult than it had to be. I could have married somebody. Fools have asked and been astonished to be turned down. I could have done the easy thing and gone the way my parents wanted me to be. And I would have been the most unhappy, mean, nasty person on the planet. Coming out freed me to be an open, creative, loving person. I choose to be a thinking person not an unwilling robotic person. I choose to be the best me I can be. That is where choice comes in.

When I came out I lost a lot of friends. There were people who were good friends of my parents that refused to associate with my parents because obviously we hadn’t been raised at home right. Some had been at my baby shower before I was born. One of them my Dad had dated before my parents married. These people watched me and my brother grow up and knew us and were our Sunday School teachers and our friend’s parents who turned their back on my parents for something they could not control, us.

And for some unknown reason it was worse that I came out than when my brother came out. It was okay for boys but not girls.

I’m grateful I could make that choice to Come Out. My great grandfather on my mother’s side had 3 siblings that lived and never married born in the 1860’s. One, Annie joined a convent. Can’t be forced or guilted into marriage if you are a Bride of Christ. One, Mariah somehow just refused and never married and Geordie whose picture looks like an 1980’s West Hollywood clone who died in his 30’s of consumption and also managed to not get married. I wonder if they were like my siblings and I. I wonder if they were happy with how their lives turned out. They wouldn’t have had my choices in the 1800’s. What was it like for them if they were like me? Was Annie happy in the company of women?

I made a choice to follow my Goddess and become a Priestess. I make the choice every day to be a thinking, feeling, free human being. I did not choose to be gay. That came from my very being. That came from my cellular nature as living being and my biology. I do choose to be an authentic open person. That is my choice.