Monday, April 25, 2011

Divine Feminine, Sacred Sisters: Part II

Why is sisterhood so important to some witches?  I think the simple answer is community.  Buddhists have sangha, Christians have bible groups, we witches have our circles, groves, covens, sister/brotherhoods etc.  The importance of these groups is, in my opinion, not to have an audience or a support system, but to have a group of equals who share some of your most deepest desires in life, your faith and your expression of love for your beliefs.

The Narrow Path, the Crowded Path:
Leighton's "Solitude"

Some of us choose to work in solitude and that is perfectly reasonable: after-all, who better knows your practice but you?  There is far less pressure and expectations, far less effort to retain friendships and most importantly, you have the absolute freedom to be fundamentally YOU.  The benefits of working alone on your spiritual path are obvious and not least among the appeal is the sense of control one has over themselves and their opinions.

Sisterhood on the path of the witch, what ever path that may be can also have many benefits as well.  First and foremost is the sharing of ideals and ideas.  In a typical coven, you are brought into a system where there is a hierarchy and you are not entirely equal, nor are your opinions and ideas seen as important as those who lead and dictate to you.  In other covens, you may have a leader or guide for structure's sake (not to mention seniority), but everyone is on equal footing and treated with the same amount of power and perspective.  That's now Dilis Glas works... the tradition itself doesn't have a degree system or anything like that: there is a beginning stage, middle and end and no one is the "immaculate head honcho".  Joining the tradition is quite a different thing from joining a Dilis Glas circle or group.  But that's a topic for another day...

Another wonderful aspect to finding a group one can connect to is the passing along of knowledge.  Every single person has their own interests and ideals and can lend to your own.  One of my favorite experiences was experiencing new things with my old circle: meditation classes, my first psychic fair, spending hours at Borders books copying down interesting information.  All of those "closening" experiences are a draw to witches who prefer to feel connected to another witch.

Some witches I've spoken to told me they felt drawn to working in a group because of their spiritual faith in the Divine Feminine.  Specifically, I was told that Her ability to wear so many faces and be so many things in this universe drove them to forge a connection to other females who represent many aspects of the Divine Feminine.   Joining a circle to feel more devoted to the divine feminine in us all or the divine masculine in us all is somewhat common I suppose.  Whole covens form based on their mutual adoration for Hecate or Brighid or Cernnunos.  Circles form to celebrate the divine genders and those in-between.  This is one of my most personally appealing group types- ones that join to be devoted to the Great Feminine- the all nurturing force of fertility, mysteries and the opposing equal force of active, penetrating energy that is masculine.

Perhaps the great draw to the group setting is just plain comfort- a basic desire of most animals.

Loneliness on the Path:
Lord  Frederick Leighton
I remember being so damned focused on the idea that if I just found others who shared my views, I wouldn't feel lonely.  Becoming an adult however taught me that loneliness has a source and a lack of sociability probably isn't the source.  Loneliness tends to be a feeling we develop from our own internal struggle with either our insecurities, our childhood experiences or just the irrational fear of dying without having made an impact on the lives of others.

Maybe for some, none of those things are true, but for me, I saw my desire for some sort of group as an opportunistic grab at security and stability- two things I had never been raised with.  Now, in my mid twenties I've learned how to separate spiritual desires from personal needs.

I've found that setting my mind to finding others to connect to has often turned me away from introspection and working out some subjects of spirituality best left to your own mind.  My sister used to say that "you should stop looking so hard and start letting things come to you".

I certainly hope that's true.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Luminaries: Shedding light in every way.

The Luminaries:  Sun and Moon
(warning: this is my opinion and not meant to hurt feelings... I'm just fluffy free and unapologetically honest, so I hope ego's wont be wounded)

   When so many of enter the world of witchcraft or actually begin to search around the world of witchcraft, we come across many lies, many misconceptions and many things we're told are normal that are not.  That's something that has always pissed me off about witchcraft: we're often lead to believe it is a singular practice that everyone has going on... but every single witch and every single tradition or denomination of the craft is different. There are no universals, because no matter how much we argue history, facts and evident truths, people will always do what they want to do and call it what they want. 

   But I digress onto a dark path, let's discuss the bright...  One of the trends in modern witchcraft is this over association with the moon and a depreciated view on the sun.  Seems like every beginner witch is desperate to believe that they are represented by the moon, masters of lunar energy and are children of freaking Diana.  Even i bought into this stereotype as a teen (most widely perpetrated by, sadly, the Wiccan community).  We are lead to associate so much energy with the moon, even going so far as to deem that we all have a certain moon phase, a certain type of moon-related thing that are aspects of our spirits....

   I don't know about you, but I am a sunshine person.  I love the moon, I love the earth, I love the sun, the stars and the sea... But i'm not "ruled" by these things.  

   Just like witches and their damned "ruling elements" thing:  e.g "oh i'm an Aries, that makes me a fire witch!  I'm a Pisces that makes me water witch!"  Sorry, but your horoscope doesn't dictate who you are.  It may be coincidentally accurate, but it does NOT define your personality nor validate who you are by any real science.  I'm a Libra, and I love Wind most among all the elements- but that's a coincidence from my childhood.  How many idiots rushed out and changed the "magical status" of their elements when Ophiuchus (the thirteenth sign) became all the rage a few months ago?  Did it really change anything?  No, but some people are gullible.  Your element of choice has nothing to do with horoscopes. 

   We are so indoctrinated to think that it's all so simple, so we ignore the idea that just maybe, there is no One Answer, that things in our lives change and that maybe we almost always do as we're told at first, regardless of it's stupidity.  If i had to choose a luminary that empowers me magically and spiritually, I'd say it's the sun.  It enlivens me, gives me hope and joy.  The moon is beautiful to look at, powerful and mysterious... but it isn't a  huge draw for me.  The night isn't a huge draw for me.  Darkness yes, but the sort of darkness in the shade, or in a cave.  A darkness mysterious because it is hiding secrets even from the light. 

Luminary Sol
The sun is the great source that makes the world grow
   The Sun is a thing of active power, both nurturing growth by warming the land and sea, aiding fertility in EVERY aspect for this planet and spiritually speaking, is a representative of strength, willpower and the delicate balance between destruction and creation.  The sun   is the warmth that allows bacteria to grow and multiply, life to evolve and be sustained.  In it's 5 billion years of life, it has managed to give us our life, give our planet it's evolution and protected us diligently.

   Why are we so quick to dismiss this... father/mother of life in favor of the moon?  Yes, the sun burns, blisters and blinds us, but it is a cheap price for 4.5 billion years of life giving and comfort.  It has been associated with masculinity because of its forcefulness, destruction and power... as if we women do not embody those traits!  I stopped seeing the sun as an aspect solely of the divine masculine some time ago, when i realized that we should not divide up the spheres with gender roles so much that we loose sight of the balance that exists in every sphere.  Sun is mother and father, giver and taker.

Luminary Luna
In the darkness of night and moon light, the blood of a flower,
it's water moves and flows and helps it grow.

    The moon is the ultimate mother figure to some witches, why: because it's light is peaceful, and its cycle mimics the belly of a woman in pregnancy.  The moon effects all life- the tides which move and recycles the ocean and the shore, mixing bacterium and refreshing the cradle of all life (the sea), she moves the water in plants at night which nurtures their nocturnal growth and gives them peace.  

   She balances and protects this planet,  a cool force of energy we all so adore.  She was associated with motherhood originally because of it's gravitational effect on the menstrual cycle and it's phases that are akin in shape to the pregnant belly.  But does this really make it solely feminine?  Water has long been associated with femininity because of it's fluidity, movement and the abundance of life that it creates, but it is not inherently imbued with a gender.  We assigned the gender, it simply was/is just a life giving force.  The gender assignment was popularized and distributed by Wicca, and not all witches follow that view.  Maybe the moon and the water are in the same position- they may be very feminine, but they are not the ruling natural aspects of femininity... how glib is that?  

The moon is very feminine in it's relationship with our planet but to be plain, it is a ball of rock that was captured by the orbit of earth and circles it, protects and balances us.  Men have those qualities, why can't the moon be a part of the divine masculine as much as feminine?

nature is a hermaphrodite  and sustained by the Sun and Moon who are both simultaneously mother and father
Unlearning is a huge thing for me.  We all should probably learn to UNlearn the things that have been compartmentalizing our lives and narrowing our minds.

: Compartmentalizing is the act of splitting an idea or concept up into (sometimes more or less arbitrary) parts, and trying to enforce thought processes which are inhibiting attempts to allow these parts to mix together again. This process is performed in an attempt to simplify things. (Wikipedia)

It's like our obsession with knowing who is gay and who isn't- we don't want to know for any other reason but to put them in a box- the "Gay" box, with a label.  We fail to see them as a full person, we see them as a gay actor, a gay friend, a gay this or that... why can't we just see them as people, sexual orientation aside? 

Or knowing the race of someone.  People ask me every god damned day "what are you mixed with?"  Why do they need to know?  To compartmentalize me, to stick me in the box so that they can refer to me as their "Native American, black, white and/or Latino friend".... rather than seeing me as Angelina, they just NEED to know what I am so that they can categorize me and treat me accordingly.

We don't have to do that to each other or to our faiths.  It doesn't have to be a part of our psychology.  We can actively stop ourselves from having to limit ourselves, our minds and our hearts by boxing each other in.  The sun doesn't have to be a man, the moon doesn't have to be a woman.  Hell, in all honesty they are hermaphrodites- containing both passive and active (female and male) energy.

The Sun, the Moon, they are life giving orbs of light that help us grow... how about we let our minds grow too?

Loving Spring, Sacred Earth

Here's my current altar- gathered with good friends, dedicated to lady spring- Goddess of the Greenwood.  We talked of many wishes and many things.  I'm hoping to plan a workshop for the summer time now that my winter discussion group came to its natural end.  The spring air was sweet and smelled like ripe blooms and sunbaked grass.

forget me nots, white heather, magnolias and what i believe to be quince along with a red pear and my humming bird bell.

lay your offerings at the feet of the goddess and watch your praises bloom
Oh Aphrodite who bears love and adoration for us and asks us to love ourselves and each other- walk with me.  
Oh sacred flower, oh myrtle garland, oh blessed fragrant mother, Aphrodite, guide me.  
Oh beautiful creature of the sea foam, let me see the joy in myself and the beauty of my own shape.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hymn to the Wind, Hymn to the Earth

From my own Book of Cunning.  I have a section dedicated to my experiences with the element entities and I express my ideas about each one in the best way I know how.  Enjoy my hymn to the Wind, and my Hymn to the Earth my most beloved forces of nature.


When you listen to the wind, she often says…

I am the wind between trees, rustling their leafs
I am the first breath a new life
I am the harsh breath of a day hard worked
I am the winds of change that moves the clouds
I am the breeze that captures and spreads life
I am an idea, organic and free
I am the deep inhale before the cry of an eagle
I am the deep exhale of worries
I am the tempest storm, wreaking sorrow where I land
I am the hurricane’s breath, beating mighty cities down
I am beautiful thoughts and silent dreams
I am cool on your face when you are bewildered by heat
I am the unseen force that gives way to life
I smell of every flavor and scent
I taste like everything around me, yet nothing at all
I feel like a spirit passing you by
I sound like a tornado or the gentle breathing of a child


When you listen to the earth, she often says…

I am cool moss beneath your feet
I am the fur that covers flower buds
I am low hanging branches and swinging vines
I am cool temperate forests covered in ferns
I am the soil, beneath the tundra frost
I am the humid warmth of a canopied jungle
I am the taste of fruits and herbs
I am deep mountain caves
I am white sands of beaches and deserts
I am dark soil smelling of rain and life
I am creeping plants crawling towards the sky
I am silver leafed birch trees whistling in the wind
I smell of lilacs, wet stone and Aloe Vera
I taste like mint, parsley and cucumber
I feel like cool ground, rough bark and soft wheat grain
I sound like a heartbeat for all life, because I am.

If anyone here has suggestions for subjects, topics or interesting crap they'd like to see on this blog, please let me know.  So far I got three requests to do more segments on tarot reading as a personal experience and two requests to talk a little bit more about my tradition, Dilis Glas.  Any other suggestions would be welcomed!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Building: Part II

Building a Book of Magic

My cunning books.  From Top left: my tome (over a foot long), my solid oak (a foot long), and three journal-style books

Building a book of power: a book of shadows, spell book, grimoire, book of cunning- etc- is a process that in my opinion never really ends.  If you reach a point where you think you've learned everything you need to know, you are failing.  Knowledge is a resource that never runs empty, and part of the nature of having these books is to continuously refine and research your path.

Looking back on your work helps you see the way from which you came and make notes of what has continued to work and what has not.  I look back in all of my many, many books and always find something new there I had forgotten or cringe in horror at the idiocy of my youth lol.

As I said once before, the point isn't perfection, it's growth.  Your first few books will almost always contain information that is no longer of use to you or is inaccurate.  I remember being in my "neo-wiccan stage" as so many teenagers tend to go through and writing pretty much every wiccan or wiccanesque concept in, thinking it was liturgy and intrinsic to that religion.  Years down the line I tore those pages out as age and wisdom taught me how to think more critically about information.  That's not to say that one should not jot down any interesting facts- the point is to review those "facts" later on in life to determine their validity to your current practice.

Organizing the Book by Subject and Series

a page about some of my favorite tools, the border was freehanded by Andrew G. Jimenez

I touched on this in Part One of this series, but I think I should go a little more in depth.

So many beginners get this part mixed-up, myself included.  I remember seeing a standard layout of a book of shadows as a kid and for a decade after, only organized my book in that same format.  The problem with following the rules of others is that you ultimately wind up regretting it when you think for yourself.   We all organize rooms, homes and lives differently from one another.  One witch's clutter is another witch's perfection.  We are often taught that the format of the book is everything and we find ourselves quite irritated when we run out of room, dislike the layout or just plain can't find the information.

This is when you need to analyse your own style.  What is most important to you and your practice?  What is least important?  When you look in a department store, do you want to see clothing racks up front or the accessories?  Do you like descending or ascending order on a list?  Does small come first or does big?  How do you categorize books: by title, author or genre?

These are important things to notice about your personality because you're probably going to want your book to follow that same format.  Some witches do not organize at all: they simply write titles, dates and information.  Some witches organize their book simply by placing memorized symbols on each page corner that denote what the subject matter is. I've tried them all and it came down to my own personal organization preference:
  • Title Page “Book of Cunning”
  • Basic information on myself and history
  • Folk medicine, folk magic and correspondences related to MY craft (lunar, solar, element, herbal, geo, etc)
  • The Divine (patrons, philosophy, mythology) 
  • Charms, Rituals, Folktales
  • Chants and Litanies (my own written chants, prayers I favor)
  • Observations and Journal (attempts, notes on healing, daily thoughts)

Organization also calls for you to really know how you organize the little things.  In terms of herbcrafting which falls under my Folk Medicine section, the subjects appear in this order (NOTE: for privacy reasons I am not disclosing the literal format of my book but giving a broad example of what works for me):

Herbs, plant identification dictionary, herbal medicinal (poultices, tinctures, ointments, compress, creams, elixirs, syrups, decoctions, distilling, poisons, infusions, etc), herbal cunning (sachets, pillows, cauldron waters, teas, rubs, flying ointment, hangings, wreaths, dolls, etc), floral energy, floral essences, oils, washes, waters incenses, burns, resins, brewing (booze)- and that's just to start.
Those are some things that have a lot to do with herbal medicine so i organize each subject down to the bone because that is how my mind thinks and that's how I retain information successfully.

Other examples of my neurosis:
Organizing the section on the Divine in order- The Universe, Philosophies on the Divine, the Divine Masculine and Feminine, pantheism, patrons, pantheon, ancestors, favored spirits, spirits of nature- and on.
Organizing the Correspondences- symbols, altars, ritual formats, circles, sacred space, tools, elements, colors, crystals, trees etc.
For every subject in witchcraft that pertains to the practice, there are a dozen or more sub-subjects and even more details.  You have to decide what's important for you to log and what isn't.  I tend to log everything for the obvious reason: I'm a writer and I like any excuse to be wordy!

For some of you, just making basic diagrams helps, or even just writing down the bare essentials and retaining the rest by memory.  Nearly everything I've committed to the pages of my various cunning books also happen to be committed entirely to memory... then again, I have the uncanny ability to retain almost any information I read verbatim and with good accuracy.  So why go through the trouble?  I am who I am, that's why.  And that is what I'm getting at- there is no real right way to go about organizing your tome- but it does need to reflect who you are and be all about you.

Taking Pride in the Pages
I installed very expensive but rewarding handmade paper and copper-leafed the hell out of it!

This is not just about art, people!  This is about aesthetic.
What is Aesthetic?
adjective /esˈTHetik/
  1. Concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty
    • - the pictures give great aesthetic pleasure
  2. Giving or designed to give pleasure through beauty; of pleasing appearance
We all have varied ideas of what we consider to be beautiful.  The Libra in me sees the beauty in almost every aesthetic you can think of, but what about YOU?  Are you drawn towards Greek art?  Celtic?  Art nouveau? Realism? Do you enjoy paintings?  Sketches?  Cartoons?  You can't really go wrong because the BOS, BOC, Grimoire etc. is about your own taste and your own style.

My pages tend to have flora and fauna EVERYWHERE.  Most of my pages are empowered with the embellishment I give them which have a reoccurring nature theme.  Some pages are decorated with gold-leaf vines, copper leaf letters, flowers emerging from the corners, and all sorts of animals in Celtic knots.  That is my aesthetic- ancient and natural.  I have a serious fetish for gold-leafing and ivy vines- so I let that show in all of my work.  My best friend and witchy-colleague Trisha prefers ornate decorative floral borders in imaginative colors.  My partner prefers that his sacred texts be embellished with Sanskrit mantras and mudras of the Medicine Buddha.  Aesthetic is all about who you are and what you like to see.

Here are some of my favorite illustrations- in my section about my experiences with different elements:

FAQ's About Sacred Books
my solid oak book from age 17 to 21- completed and retired

Do I have to call it a Book of Shadows?
Nope.  Book of Shadows is a Wiccan term, which was started by Gerald Gardener, it's founder.  If you are not Wiccan, you do not have to use the term BOS- hell, even some Wiccans don't call it that.  Some witches call it a grimoire, which is a ceremonial and medieval term for a spell-book most often used for demonology.  Some witches just use the name Spell book or diary.  You can call it whatever you like.  Mine is a book of cunning or just plain cunning book.  Why?  Because it is a glossary of folk magic and I'm a cunning woman.  Who came up with that name?  Me... or at least I've never heard it from anywhere else lol.

What are the most common subjects written about in a personal spell book?
Here is a basic list I see circulating the world of witches, particularly neo-Wiccans.  My own book is arranged quite differently.

Personal magical experiences*
Book list
Circle diagrams
Circle philosophy
Weekday meanings
Experiences with the Otherworld
Animistic practices
Shamanistic practices
Entheogens and sacred hallucinogenic plants
Hair magic
Midsummer (Litha)
Midwinter (Yule)
Rites of Spring (Ostara)
Last Harvest (Mabon)
Initiation Rite
Intuitive gifts
Magical lists
Sigil wheel
Sigil by words
Personal sigils
Herbs (A-Z, magic and medicine)
Floral Magic
Delphic herbs
Planetary observances
The Divine
The Dark and Light
Spell craft
- to name a few
Can I share mine with my friends?
NO!  Naw, just kidding, sure, if you want.  Some of us don't share all of our books with our loved ones because we keep a very personal dairy in English and that can get ugly.  Some witches believe it is wrong to share such a personal object of power.  It's up to you.

What happens if I mess up?
Nothing, the world won't end.  Messing up is a part of life.  If you don't like it, tear it out or glue over it.  If you're like me, you let the mistakes keep their place because they are just part of the flow.

Can it be used as a diary?

Where do I find the perfect book?
This tends to give witches a lot of grief.  As I stated in Part One, the book's outside doesn't matter as much as its contents and it can be whatever you like.  If you want a beautiful and ornate book, you're either going to have to make it yourself or shell out the big bucks.  My current book was custom made by Lapulia Studios and cost nearly $400 dollars.  The one previous to that is a solid oak grimoire I bought from Dwarve Song when I was a teenager for $175.   The true perfect book is one specially made to your preferences but you can have just as much luck with any pretty journal from Borders or even a college-ruled notebook.  Other big-budget favorites are Brahms Books and Witches Moon.

What should I do with my old books?
Anything you like.  If you feel connected to them, then by all means keep them or pass them along to others for their own use.  Another option is to turn completed books into offerings to the one's spirits or gods.  When I come to the end of a book, I make a very simple decision- sacrifice or keep.  The first four books were sacrificed at some point in time to the fires of the Spring Equinox on the sand dunes beside the sea.  I currently have five books in my possession that are still somewhat active.  I plan on turning one into a basic for any of my friends interested in having a starter- as you can see, there are a ton of options.

Interesting tidbits and ideas
If you have a post-bound book, try switching out the pages for decorative paper you buy from the art store.

Try hand-dying paper using natural herbal dyes, berries, red wine, liquor or even food coloring- watch out for shrinking paper!

Try to find light weight resins to glue in pressed flowers (they can flake over time), pictures or pages.  This is sort of like scrap booking.  For those of you unconcerned with keeping it all-natural, double sided tape does wonders or traditional glue (though the effect can be a crumpled back to your page and welts).

Get creative with colors- unless you enjoy the monochrome road, colors can do wonders in expressing the meaning of each subject.

Leafing-  gold, silver, copper and bronze leaf come in several forms: loose leaf which  is flaky and deliciously shiny and requires an adhesive application first, liquid leaf which ought to be painted on with a clean precision brush or actual leafing pens (the quality isn't great but it will do in a pinch: watch out for page bleeding though).  Use the leaf wisely- too much can turn out tacky-looking.

Monday, April 18, 2011

More Crafty Goings On

Bottled my Beltane Floor Wash- I'm excited to use it to clean down the altar and my tools.  So far it is a success, i even got to share it with my friends Trish and Lisa, to clean down Trisha's new altar desk.

The customization of my ritual blade is coming along swimmingly lol!  One side is carved with the acorn- my tradition's symbol (and really a very universal green witch symbol) of virility and power and is generally a symbol that draws positive energy where it goes. In Dilis Glas, the acorn is as much an emblem of life as death and putting the symbol on tools is pretty customary for me.  The other side has the nine-fold Dilis Glas tree engraved into the wood.  The top will have a treskele and the blade itself will be engraved with the vines of the ivy path.  Awesome, no?

The potential  Burn i'll be making-  linden wood, alder wood and more!  After the altar is set with golden, green and white creamy linens, the blades are cleaned, the air scented with lilacs, periwinkles and early wisteria,  the bones are set reddened, porcelain and brass plates filled with honey and pudding, breads baked with honey and oats, spring fruits chilling on Fostoria crystal and the pillar candles of mossy green are standing high and proud, the fires of Beltane are lit.

The equinoxes and solstices are days i dedicate specifically to ritual work only, and all forms of power... but the Celtic feasts are days I've come to honor as simple celebrations of food and merriment.  Beltane, i purify the house and keep the doors and windows open to invite in luck, fey and fertility in life.  Hawthorn boughs will be swining heavy in the breeze while the first fire goes up, to bless the land and the celebrations.  For kindling love, respect, empowerment and fecundity, I've made this linden wood Beltane Burn!  Added are herbs and oils best paired with this wholesome, loving wood.  In addition  even piled on red alder chips for an otherworldly experience.  Cinnamon, mugwort, peppermint, Neptune, cloves, lemon balm, vervain, beeswax, dried rose, rose and cinnamon oil, consecrated salt, a pinch of myrtle and a while lot more!

If only you smell this stuff.... yum.

Hunting for Witches

So I go hunting for witches

I go hunting for witches

Heads are going to roll

-Bloc Party

Throats are bare and teeth are gnashing.  There's a lot of bad energy in the air, a lot of hurt feelings and negativity.  Sometimes i feel like its a real wave, and it crashes on people at the same time.  My friends are currently having a lot of familial difficulties and it really sucks because I don't really know how to help... I'm not a parent, i'm still just a kid in many ways and i cant help but feel like i cause more problems than i start.  I wish I were my personal guru hero, Dr. Phil.  He'd know what to do.  I wish I had a psychology degree or a counseling licence.  I wish I didn't have so many personal hangups from my childhood so that i could be more objective- less invested.  I wish I were a more powerful presence in the world, so that i could influence people with my words and change lives with ideas.  But i am small.  I am just me, and while that is good enough for my own purposes, i wish i were good enough for a greater purpose.

Greater purpose... spiritually speaking, my greater purpose is to lead a new way of thinking... I have been told my whole life by adults that i had a "spark".  I don't know what that "spark" really is or really means but I've heard it over and over.  If there is a spark, i want it to ignite change around me.  I want to start small and work up to something truly powerful.  

Since i was a kid, i wanted to complete three things that i thought would benefit my little piece of the world:
Find a circle of sisters to share in philosophy and ideas over the divine feminine and masculine
Start a school or temple that will be a center for all spiritual thoughts, avoiding religion but focusing on mutual compassion over faith.
Become a leader in the field of reconciling science with spirituality (again avoiding religion altogether... i'm the sort of person who thinks religiousness is a plague and that beliefs are far more dangerous than ideas- thank Kevin Smith for that)

Those were my top goals.  In simplified child terms, i wanted a coven/grove, a school for ancient wisdom and an author of controversy lol. As you can see, i have since refined those goals and cut out the fat.  I want to be someone who helps garner respect for alternative religions by whatever means i best know how... writing is my passion and scientific research is admittedly one of my greatest loves.  Hell, some of my understanding of the divine feminine and masculine came from Pythagoras, Phidias and the eternal number spiral. lol. Yeah... i'm a nerd.  Failed math all through high school and college but you get me started on astrophysics and you'll never hear the end of it!  On the scale of Academic Pagans, 1 to 10, i'm a 10.  That's just my personal choice- i figure a witch like me should never stop learning, so that we can never stop helping.  

When i look out at the possibilities of my future, i either see a cliff i can't get over or a vast forest with many paths.  It depends on my mood...  I want to see the future i want but i also know that the future always changes.... I hope to the gods and spirits alike that i find those sisters of similar mind, make that refuge for the curious and write that best selling book about reconciliation

Now if i only i can reconcile the worries and woes of my loved ones.....

Brighid, blessed flame, walk with them.  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blessed Bee Things

Beeswax, bee key (in the making), linden wood bee idol, and The Witch of Forest Grove's Bee Smoke!  It arrives yesterday and i just squeed half to death when i smelled it on the charcoal.  I blessed my bees wax chunk, my mother statue, chalice, fertility egg, graveyard soil, bee idol and Forest Door key by the sweet smelling smoke.  If she ever makes another batch, i would buy it immediately if i were you- it's powerful, sensual, sexy, warmed caramel sugar sort of smell and it clings to the beeswax finish on my key and permeates the fabric on my altar with its scent.  I'd recommended it for any witch who follows the bee as a divine spirit as i do.  I can't wait for Mead Day celebration so that i may burn a slab of it then in honor of the industrious, sacred, productive bee.  Thank you Mrs. Lawless!

Mmmm it looks simply edible!

The Forest Grove Botanica and the Cool Canadian Cunningwoman who runs it is one of the best internet finds of my life.  Love that woman.

 The bee key has been an ongoing project of Andrew's for a little over a two weeks now.  It's made of linden and will be set with amber gem stones in each comb, and will be sealed with fresh beeswax.

And i finished stringing my key to nature; the bear (mother of pearl) is a symbol of strength and deep connection to the earth, tree agate is a powerful stone used in meditation or connection to the mother through her incarnation as the greenwood.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oh Nantosuelta

Spirit of nature, winding river, sunny valley, blessed hive, help me

sturdy home, little creek, warming hearth, spirit of nature, help me

A traditional cunning offering in green and hedge craft are honey, grains, fruits, liquor and milk.  For my purposes, I left an offering of rice and honey sprinkled with elderberries (for the fey spirits of nature) for the spirits and for Nantosuelta, the divine spirit i call on in matters of the home and land. As always, I include white flowers; Andromeda  and Camellia.
I actually picked up my cards and read again today.  After i quit working at Eco, I stopped reading for a long time... The whole experience with my hellish boss really damaged and drained me, took away a lot of my love for reading- something I've done successfully for years.  

I've always been pretty amazing at it (or so i'm told)  good enough to make hundreds and hundreds a week doing it (which contributed to why i quit: i do not personally believe in charging money for intuitive readings ), good enough to have rave reviews and job offers across the state- hell- the country.  But my passion for it expired and i began to focus more on the physical than the intuitive.  Now, the passion is back while i transition through these changes and fears about my move out of my home of 15 years. 

The lame part about reading is that everyone then wants you to read for them... i partially quit reading because i was so sick of virtually every person i know asking or begging for a reading. regardless of how i feel about it.  Same thing when people find out you're a good artist; they start harassing you and advertising you and pretty soon, you hate doing art.  I'll keep ignoring requests until i feel like waisting my energy helping others discover things they could have just figured out alone.  Readings are supposed to be psychological evaluative tools; not easy answer cheat-sheets or substitution for counseling.

 I discovered and reflected on a few very important questions about the outcome of this change and the financial fairing... some good, some bad, some food for thought.  

Blessings all around!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Charm for Ending Old Ties

Burn birch twigs in the cauldron and fumigate your spirit by walking over the cauldron and allowing the cleansing smoke to waft over you.

Call on your divine spirit.  When it comes to cutting out bad or negative relationships, i tend to speak to one of my favorite spirits; Aphrodite, but for this purpose, I've decided to call upon the goddess in spring- the Greenlady who brings new beginnings and new fate with her every year.  Spring is the perfect time for cutting old ties and making new beginnings. The  Greenlady is the divine feminine as nature in its greening stages during the brightyear.

Oh yes, that is a hand-painted fertility egg.  

I washed this white (purity) candle in my new Beltane wash which carries the qualities of positivity with it.

The offering is one of love, romance and spring associated herbs and plants.

White bluebells: strength, honesty, truth and transparency.  Andromeda's: sweetness, renewal, eternity
The object of power is the white camellia, which is pure but quickly becomes tainted and decays- with hope, this flower, as it wilts and decays will take lingering sorrows and woes with it.

After the charm has been spun and offerings made, let the candle burn completely with the flower beside it.  Place the flower outside, in behind the house- putting the past behind you, and allow the candle to burn out completely indoors.

The altar is an important part of my practice- i believe that just setting up the altar is a meditative experience; one that allows us to slip through consciousness by concentrating on devotion and power.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Walking the Ivy Path

The Ivy Path happens to be more than the title of a blog or the name of my craft business... it is the name of the green path i tend to walk.  We all walk many paths- or at least i do.  All of them green and cunning and old.  But on the green path- becoming more and more a part of nature rather than living separately, i grew and grew and took over more and more aspects of my life- the way one strand of ivy multiplies and covers an entire tree in no time, or the way it climbs relentlessly through the cracks of foundation until it penetrates the home.

Ivy, is characteristically persistent and unrelenting- not something i embody for the most part, but when it comes to my ideas and visions- it is very me.  The otherworld reaches out, ancestors climbing through the cracks between our worlds to reach down that long ivy link to curl around me.

I learn much about life from them, and even more about myself.  I shape roots, carve keys, distill bitter tinctures and peel flesh from bones.  I spit blood into fires, mash grain and skin fruits.  I change my heart, change my thoughts and open my mind, ever evolving.  I grow, like ivy, endlessly.

Thats what it means to walk an Ivy Path.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Magic of the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest really is one of the most amazing and magical places on earth.  It is a wonderland of moss and fern covered trees, small lakes, rocky rivers, snowcapped mountains, soft valleys and grey-blue ocean, icy and harsh.

The animals here are of every size, shape and color- killer whales, humpbacks, many bald eagles, crows, goldfinches, red breasted robins, red tail hawks, woodpeckers, monarchs, beetles, crickets, frogs and toads- so many up here.  We are people of rain and mountain fog, of evergreens and quiet snow.

The Pacific is wide and blue and seemingly endless.  The Puget Sound is speckled with many islands- some you could walk around in an afternoon, some are bigger than the city i live in.  In Seattle, people work down in the valleys and live in-between the trees, on high hills or by sea-side.

In Vancouver BC, the air is clean, the mountains are high and the flowers bloom powerfully and decorate the suburbs with their beauty.  Up North, in Whistler, it is a snowy world of ice and cedar trees covered in ferns.

 Our world, up here in the PNW smells like ocean water, undergrowth, old-growth forests and nursing logs.  Thick, moist, quiet, sad, and i'm deliriously happy to be here.  I think you would be too.