Monday, March 25, 2013


There are a few folks who have called me wise. This always makes me chuckle
because I make huge missteps in my life at times. The other night I decided
to look up the word wisdom in the dictionary.

Again I found myself chuckling as I read through the definition of the word.
Much of what it said just did not seem to fit. I decided to look up the word wise, just to see if that would shed some light on things for me.

One line caught me, "to be aware". That is a powerful line. It is also the
one aspect that seems to fit with me and my own perceptions of myself.

I am aware; of myself and the world around me, of people and how they think and feel, of the unseen and often unacknowledged. I am aware enough to be aware that most folks choose not to be aware of much.

I have said for a long time now that I am awake, while sometimes it seems
that many in the world around me are sleeping. The word aware though, strike
me as more to the point. Awareness implies choice and work. Any "sleeper"
might be awakened, acted upon, by some outside agent or incident.

Awareness, though, is a choice of the individual. It is the choice to remain awake and aware, rather than drift back to the comfort of sleep and ignorance.

Awareness implies a willingness to learn and experience life in all it's
aspects, not just those that we think of as positive, but all of it. Even
pain, sorrow, and introspection which are hard and often ugly things are
part of being aware.

I realized as I was sitting there just how aware I am. I was taken aback by it.
I note exits when I am in a new place. I note people, faces, attitudes and groups. I can feel the mood of the place and purposely open up to it. I watch body language. I listen to the tones of voices. I watch for changes in both of those things. I watch other traffic as I drive. I listen and feel as much as I can where ever I am.

I am also aware of my own body. Through subtle shifts, I know when my mood is about to change,  when a migraine is going to strike. Hell, I know within the hour when my moon cycle is going to start.

I am aware of the unseen around me. I know when I am not alone, though my eyes would have me believe otherwise. Energies fluctuate and I prick up and feel what is around me.

I am aware of my limits. More to the point I am aware that I am the one who places those limits upon myself.

I suppose then if awareness is wisdom, I am wise.

There is a price for wisdom. That price is innocence. For, to be wise, to be aware, one must be willing to experience. With experience comes the loss of innocence and the burden of accountability.

To be wise then is also to be accountable.

By Whose Authority?

Authority is a concept I have been thinking about for the last year or so. Who has it and why do they deserve it? Do I have the authority to get things done in the community? Do I need to defer to this other individual on a given issue? Do the concepts of rank apply in the pagan community, and if so, whose authority do I recognize and why?  It’s been an interesting year to say the least.
Authority is defined on as :

 noun, plural au·thor·i·ties.
1. the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.
2.  a power or right delegated or given; authorization: Who has the authority to grant permission?

It’s pretty obvious that this is an important concept from the definition. We deal with authority in most every aspect of our lives. Work and home, school and city government. Out in the mundane world it is pretty easy to determine who has authority. We get all kinds of cues. The uniforms and badges of law enforcement, fire fighters, and first responders tell us who to listen to in an emergency. In the work place, name tags and titles let us know the rank and file of the organization. At home, we have developed rules and guide lines about who gets the final say in the big decisions.

It gets a little more vague in the Pagan community. We generally do not have visual cues for who is in the know and has the authority to guide us to good choices. Our clergy do not wear the uniforms of the Catholic, Lutheran, or Episcopal churches. We do not wear the name tags of the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We trust our friends and more subtle cues when dealing with the community “leadership”.
So the question becomes, who has authority and how did they get it? Why do they deserve it? There are different schools of thought on the matter. I have a couple of favorites. Both though, have a few things in common.

 First they have to have a strong and consistent set of ethics. They have to prove that they will act consistently within the construct of what they believe, regardless of the situation. For instance, if they are constantly talking about having patience with folks, and then get angry and snappy the first time someone forgets to bring the candles for ritual, that might be a signal that I do not want to honor their authority.

Next, they need to have a sense of personal responsibility. They should understand that when people look up to them, they have a responsibility to set an example. If “Greg” is always late to his own rituals because he falls behind at work or just gets too busy to have things ready to go, he really isn’t showing me any sense of responsibility. Things happen, once in while. If this is a constant sort of thing, then I question his authority.

Lastly, there has to be a sense of accountability within the person whose authority I choose to acknowledge.  If I keep hearing excuses and seeing blame place on the folks around them or the Universe at large for things going wrong in their lives, they lose my respect. If they are willing to accept responsibility for their own issues, then they might be worth listening to, especially if they are also working on those issues.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ego Driven or Shadow Ridden

In the Pagan community at large, we hear a lot about ego. He is ego driven, she works from ego, they have set aside ego.  I wonder how many folks actually understand what ego is? How many have really looked at it, and are using the word correctly?

Ego comes from Freud. He had a theory about our psychological make up. Id, ego and super-ego.  The id is the animal brain, according to Freud. It's big drive centers around getting pleasure and avoiding pain. The ego stands between the id and the rest of the world. Ego is what translates the desires of the id into a realistic set of views and actions. Super-ego is our morality, ideally it is the fail safe of guilt or conscience. These three work together to help us function in the world.

So, when we say "ego" what we are really saying is id. It wants what it wants and will do what it needs to do to get it. The id likes power and fame, ego just helps it translate that in healthy ways. In these cases, the ego has failed in its job as has the super-ego. So this brings up another concept, the Shadow.

Jung, in thinking about some holes in the Freudian theory, came up with some thoughts of his own. The one we are all most likely familiar with is Shadow. Shadow is the dark side, the strange little desires and odd director of traffic in our subconscious.

Like id, it wants what it wants. Unlike id and more like ego, it is far more devious and seems to have a will all its own. Of course it doesn't, it is just acting outside the constraints of super-ego. It is a psychologocal loop hole, if you will.

What does all this rambling have to do with anything?

I think that Shadow is not only related to the id. I think that Jung, and I do love the man, had it wrong. Shadow is what happens when the id supercedes the ego. I think that when this happens, and Shadow is really out of the box, super ego is suplanted and no longer works. Shadow whispers things to us, great things sometimes, things that activate that id pleasure center. Then, snatches them away with a little dark proding from the ego.  Let me supply an example.

The Shadow tells you a story. You can be a great ______. People will love you. You will make a lot of money and have all kinds of fame and recognition.  Then it says, you need to be careful though. There are pit falls. Because of all you have, there will be people who will be jealous. They will want to take this from you. They will want to destroy you.

Id thinks that first part of the story is awesome. All kinds of happy things are promised in there. Ego knows these are things could be accomplished and so yeah, that is awesome. Then, because ego translates the possible problems. That's part of it's job, but is not in control of the id as it should be, so it misses some steps. It's not talking about the problems of getting there and then turning to super-ego to help set a plan. Nope, it lets id revel in the "of course this will happen" state. So when it brings up possible issues, it assumes success, and then the pain of having that ripped away.

I do think that this is why so many people get stuck. They dream big but they also fear big. I have seen this a lot. It usually manifests in abuse survivors. I mean long term physical and emotional abuse. 

Why does this happen? First, the id is on full alert during the abusive relationship. It wants to avoid pain at all costs. Ego would help it talk to super-ego, but id is so much stronger when it is trying to survive. Next, The ego then is weakened. It can not reason with id. It does not translate in a healthy fashion. Super-ego knows the situation is wrong and unhealthy, but with ego weakened and id in alert it also weakens. Finally, the super-ego, in its unused state, can be suplanted by the will and thoughts of the abuser.

This is a perfect storm, in my oppinion, for Shadow to really create some havoc and road blocks. If the scars from the abuse can not be healed, if Shadow is not dealt with then, we get stuck. We re-create the fear we had while in the abusive relationship. We start and stop things because we hear the voice of the abuser whispering of worthlessness and failure. They are still driving our super-ego.

How do we fix this?  Well, the first thing I would say is that, if you got out fo that relationship, then you have already done the hard bit. You got a sudden burst of ego and super-ego strength and got the hell out.  What needs to happen is healing and therapy. We need to learn how to replace the thoughts of our abuser with our own again. We have to learn to find the balance between id and ego and super-ego.  We have to take back the power from Shadow and put it back where it belongs. This can really only happen if we are willing to seek out trained professionals. They have tools, and road maps, and the training to help us deal with these things.

She is working from ego? No she is working from id. He is ego driven? No, ego could be negotiated with, this is id.  Why am I so blocked? Why can't I get passed this? Who's voice is in your head? If it isn't your own, therapy....


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Death Becomes Her

A few months ago I posted a question on my facebook page. "What sorts of workshops and classes would folks in the Pagan community like to see that are not already being presented?" Well, there was one answer that came up over and over again, death and dying.

As our Elders are becoming elderly, there is a need arising for some serious information to be gathered and distributed to our community on the subject of death and dying. We need to look at how we are going to help our friends and loved ones, our coven mates and tribe mates not only to "cross" but to deal with the "crossings" of those around them.

First off, let me say that I hate the term "crossing".  I think this stems from Catholic school and Episcopal Church. We crossed ourselves all the time. It was expected. When entering the church, when sliding into the pew, when approaching the kneeling rail at the altar. On and on with the crossing.  There is also the association with cursing someone. We cross them, or uncross them, depending on which side of the spiritual street we are working.

I prefer the term "slipping the coil".  That really is a better term anyway, unless you walk a Greek path and must deal with the Ferry Man and crossing the river Styx. After all, we are tightly bound up in our flesh, this mortal coil, until we find a way to slip it, to shed it.  In this vein, my book on the subject of death and dying as a Pagan will be titled "Slipping the Coil".

Some of the topics I plan to deal with are; prayers for the dying, using healing energy to ease passage, opening the Western gate, and aid from the ancestors.  I also want to deal with getting ready, not only for the one slipping the coil, but for the ones left behind. We have all seen the books on planning for death and mourning, and sadly they are very Christocentric.  I want to help change that.

I am putting this out here, to give folks the opportunity to have a voice here. What have you had issues with in your experience as a survivor? What challenges have your Pagan friends and family had when they were planning for their own death or the death of a loved one? 

I do not want this to be a book about what I will do. I want this to be the book that the community needs. Speak up folks, you have a voice.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

What it takes...

Someone said today that they would like to learn magic. By "magic", most folks mean that they would like to learn to cast spells and/or have dramatic rituals. There is so much more to magic than that. There are so many exciting discoveries to make. For most though, it is just about the spells and the rituals. This has been my experience anyway.

This always makes me a wee bit nervous. Rarely has anyone ever asked, "What do I need to know to be able to cast good spells?" or even, "How do I know if I am ready to start working magic?"  It is most always just the whole, "I want to learn magic", statement. The thing about learning magic is that it takes discipline and time and practice of the skills that lead up to casting of circles and spells.  Honestly, there is no reason to wait for someone else to teach them the arts, if  they are willing to work.

There are so many books on the subject of  101 Wicca. The good ones will tell you all the things you need to do to get ready to cast: Breathing and breathe control, visualization, meditation, how to ground and center, and how to raise and direct energy. Is some of this easier with a partner? It sure is. Is it possible to do on your own?  It sure is. I know I went through stages working alone and with others in the beginning. There were advantages to both.

The most important lesson I learned back then was; There are no short cuts. In the end whether you read a book on your own or with a group or in a class, whether you pay huge amounts of cash to a Wiccan seminary online or attend local classes for nearly nothing, whether you do all the work alone or with another; in the end, you still have to DO the work yourself.

All of this is why the statement, "I want to learn magic", makes me nervous. What they are really asking is to learn a fast easy way to do the magic. By the time they are making this statement, they have read books and maybe had a couple of classes. They know it is work. They likely have decided that it is a LOT of work and there must be an easier way. I always assure them that there are no short cuts, no magickal fast track. You have to practice all the those base skills ... a LOT.

Nine times out of ten, once they realize I am serious about the fact that there is only one way, the hard way, to learn the magic, they tend to lose interest. That's generally about the time I start getting requests to do spell work for them ... which I do not do as rule.

I guess my point is that if you want to do the magic, you must first do the work. This isn't grade school. We do not all get the ribbons and we are not all "winners".  The ones that work get to change the world. The ones who don't work? They just get swept along .....

Do the work my friends. It is worth it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

When I was little, my mom took us to church. St James Episcopal Church to be exact. For those who don't know what that is, it is the Church of England. It is Catholic Lite. We have no pope and or priests can marry. We were created so that Henry IIIV could get a divorce. Isn't that nice. We are also known as the church of exercise. Stand up, sit down, kneel, stand up, kneel, sit. We don't have many sleepers in church they keep you moving.

Well after a time, like when I turned 7, we stopped going to church. I have no clue why. It just stopped. So I drifted until the year I went to 6th grade. My mom protesting busing issues sent us all to Catholic school. Yippy. I got to go to mass on Wednesdays. I liked church. I loved the music and the ritual. I always felt good in the church, meaning the building itself. It was like a castle. I felt safe. That was also the year I discovered Greek Mythology. Epiphany for the 6th grade Catholic school mind, "There are other Gods? THERE ARE OTHER GODS!!!!!"

It was exciting. I read everything I could get my hands on. My grades improved so the nuns didn't mind. This was also the year I encountered tarot cards. I took them to school. The nuns made me burn them because "they were a tool of Satan." I will give the nuns this much, it took them forever to get the darn things to burn. lol. I never believed they were of the devil. I still don't. I just think nuns were terrified of them and didn't want to actually touch them to get them lit.

The next year, the bussing issue resolved I went back to public school No church again. In my 8th grade year though the church right down the street was having the youth group go door to door. They were trying to get more young people. I went for the youth group and not for the church for a long time. They had a puppet ministry and well I was very good at puppetteering it seems. Before too much time had gone by, I was writing the skits and running "Pastor Chucky", the main puppet. It was fun and I made friends.

We did a lot as a group. We loved concerts. We went to one that a group called Petra was putting on. This is back when they only had one album out. In the day when you could go back stage and talk to them after the show. Well, I got "saved" at that concert. I mean hardcore, holy spirit saved. I was a dyed in the wool holy rollin Christian. I read the bible 18 times during the 6 years I was a member of that church.

During my time there. I was moved from the youth bible study to the adult bible study to the Wednesday night intensive study. Why would they do that to a tenth grader?? My questions and interpretations of the bible which I read everyday were too deep. I would send Pastor Charles and our youth pastors scrambling for their old college texts and searching for the original meanings of words. They came to dread Wednesdays. lol.

I think one of the final straws with my youth leaders was an incident that happened at a conference on the occult. That was how it was billed. "The Occult: Real Spiritual Warfare of Today". Right up my little on fire ass' alley. They thought "Ah Ha someone who can actually challenge her and keep her mind busy for a while". Well poor them is all I can say looking back.

The conference was NOT in the occult it was on cults. Cults consisted of other churches. These cults included the Catholic church, The Mormons (of which my neighbors members.) Jehovas Witnesses and any small store front church. Well by his definition all religions were cults. Actually on a break I got a dictionary and found that he was right every religion on the planet is a cult. The second half of the lecture was a little more interesting. Adults never scared me. Large groups never scared me. Public speaking is no problem. *smiles with the memory*

So he opened up the floor to questions. ( mistake one on his part, not his last) I raised my had and my youth leaders moved a little closer to me. They saw the glint in my eyes and my rather smug smile. They knew what was going to happen. The poor speaker though thought I looked angelic. It was a look I perfected, like wolves perfect pack hunting. He smiled and called on me (this was his second mistake) I said I had a couple of questions.

"Go right ahead. We have plenty of time", he said (there's three)

"Well according to your definition and Webster's Dictionary every church is a cult. That is correct isn't it?" I smiled sweetly.

He paused and looked thoughtful. I held up a dictionary and his thoughtful expression faded a little, "Yes, technically you are right. But we aren't talking about all religions here, just the wrong ones."

My smile faded and I lifted a defiant 17 year old eyebrow. My youth leaders were closing in far too slowly to stop what was about to happen. I said, "Sir do you mean to tell me you advertised a course on battling the "O"ccult to lure us here to listen to you bash other Christian religions? Do mean that Christianity is the only way to God only if it is your brand of Christianity? The "O"ccult includes secret things like witchcraft and Satanism. I came here to learn to fight that not to be a hypocrite and bash other Christians. I will not belittle anyone who follows Christ and you should be ashamed of yourself!"

He closed the questions and comments section of his little talk. We all had punch as he left. My youth pastors tried to explain that this man was right and these were dangerous religions. I didn't go back to church at that place again.

Until I was 21 there was no organized religion in my life. Then I stumbled across the Mormons. I liked them. I liked what they had to say. If you are rolling your eyes at me right now stop it. They have a very appealing message in the beginning. Eternal marriage and families, it is not til death do us part but forever. I told you it was appealing.

Due to a rape by another member of the church and the churches mishandling of the whole thing I was labeled a Daughter of Perdition, one of only two women with that title EVER in the Mormon church, and excommunicated.

I really thought they had it all right. They had all the missing pieces. If they were not the True church then all religion was false. Sounds crazy but unless you are an ex-Mormon you won't understand that. It was true though in my heart of hearts I knew there could be no God if that church was false. Soooo I decided to go see for myself if there was a God or not.

I was all set to go. Sharp knife, locked door, music playing, nice dress, plastic over and around my bed. I didn't want mom to have a mess to clean up after all. My note was short and sweet, "I need to talk to God face to face. I need answers."

I started to make the first cut. It didn't even hurt which was odd. But I can tell you I was shaken to my core with fear. What if he wasn't there. What if he was and I was going to hell for suicide. One would think that fear would be enough to stop me it wasn't. I just pushed deeper. That's when something amazing happened.

All at once I was at peace. I was wrapped in the arms of a woman. She was rocking me and saying my name and telling me it was alright She was here for me. She whispered answers to me. I cried a long time as I was rocked by not a Father but a Mother. I had never in my life, even in my deepest prayers felt this kind of love and peace.

When the night was over I cleaned it all up and even feigned that I had cut myself making dinner. Nothing major, just tried to catch the knife I dropped. I was told not to do that again... you let a knife fall and jump back.

I knew nothing of the Goddess but my mind drifted back to the 6th grade and the discovery of other Gods.

It have been 23 years almost to the day, as a matter of fact, that I was rocked in the arms of the Goddess in the moment of my deepest pain. I have never looked back. I have really only been a practicing witch for 20ish of those years. I was studying and making sure that I would never fall under the control of another rabid cult, Christian or otherwise.

This is how I became a witch. It is long tale but a true one. I promise you that it is all true. The quotes are as close to verbatim as my mind can make them. The spirit of the truth is in every word of them. I really did read the bible 18 times in 6 years. I still read it from time to time when helping a friend out or doing some sort of research. It isn't my scripture though. My scripture is written in my heart and in my thoughts and deeds.

Love and Light

The time has come my friends to talk of many things.

I have started and stopped with the blogs over the years. This was with good reason the first time. I had an amazing little blog back in the early 2000s. I did enjoy it. I had what would be called a respectable following. I had friend in the blog-o-sphere that were well known and informative. It was good. Until I was nominated for an award.

Who knew that adults, whom I assume had lives, could revert to elementary school nastiness over a freaking sticker for your blog. I mean, there was no money, no trophy, just an admittedly craptacular sticker declaring you "The Best of Blogs" in your category. So, seeing the crazy, I left.

I tried a few years ago to start another blog. It got off to a really rough start. I lost focus. I posted infrequently, if at all some months, let alone weeks. It just was not doing it for me. So once more, I left.

I am back again. I can not promise that I will be a great blogger. I will not promise to post regularly. I do know that the content I choose to post will be solid. It will be informative. It might be entertaining. In the end, it will be what it will be.

This is my broomstick! I plan to have a wild damn ride.