Thoughts, lessons, and theology from an eclectic witch from a varied background.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Magical Studies: Phyisics of Magic I

* Note: This discussion is the author's personal theory. Others may have differing explanations. *

When one engages in spell craft, it is difficult sometimes to comprehend how it works. Much of the occult community focuses on 'cookbook' style magic, though they do not claim that they are ritualists.* The question of how magic works is often left deliberately unanswered or left the subject of vague assurances. Magic, like any other activity, is subject to the rules and laws of physics. We can not violate basic laws, such as the conservation of matter and energy, by way of magic. Before I discuss the physics of this, I must first address common misconceptions.

1. Creating Energy: The argument that a ritual is 'creating' energy is a false one. A ritual does not create energy as much as it reorders the energy in a given system to create a result. The energy that one taps for any ritual or magical undertaking is already present. You are simply rearranging it.

2. Three fold return means exact triplicate amount of energy returns: This is a fallacy built upon an incomplete assessment of the Law of Three. The Law of Three is a consideration of the chain of causality that results for a given action. It is most commonly interpreted as the first three steps of said chain. Some, however, interpret it as the first two steps plus an indeterminate reference to the continuing chain of causality. All actions are governed by simple causality and the related laws of physics.

3. If you believe hard enough, you can do anything: This is an incomplete statement. It is frequently taken as an assertion that with sufficient faith, once could violate the laws of physics. Faith is only a small measure of what is required for successful magical enterprise. Greater burden rests upon focused mental effort, where as faith is generally more of an emotional exercise. A disciplined mind will always have greater magical success the an undisciplined one.

4. Magic happens because the Gods will it: This is a variation of the third misconception. It could be taken as an argument that successful magic is ordained by the will of the Divine, but this fails to acknowledge that there are physical laws that govern how actions unfold. The system we operate in is built in such a fashion that the gravitational constant for Earth is always 32 feet per second, squared, for example. This could be taken as the Gods will that the gravitational constant is this or simply that it is part of the conditions that are present, regardless of the will of the Gods.

The only conditions where the theological discussion of magic is vaild are when we are discussing magic based in prayer or similar religious activity. This is a very specific subset of magic ruled by its own set of rules. The general rules of magic do apply as does the laws of physics. This will be addressed in its own post.

* Ritualism is the excessive emphasis upon the actions and invocations, including but not limited to the props used for spell casting. This could potentially also include ritual forms of prayer.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Magical Studies: Theology II

If one casually glances through just about any modern text on witchcraft, you find reference to mythical beings. The mythical beings described by all cultures truly do exist in a spiritual sense. The universe is permeated with the spiritual essence of existence. This manifests in different ways for different people. As such, the same being that appears to one witch as a fairy, may appear to a Christian as an angel, or to another witch as a different mythological creature. Spiritual beings are possessed of intelligence and the ability to interact with the physical plane in a limited fashion.

The Veil is a subtle barrier between the physical world and the spiritual world. It is with focused effort that one who is in the physical world can interact with the spiritual world. This is true also for spiritual beings. The nature of spiritual beings is as diverse as that of physical life. Unlike some other religions, in my tradition of witchcraft, all things are imbued with a measure of spiritual life. (This is the animist aspect of the religion.) The presentation of the spiritual aspect is more fluid then of the physical because it is based more heavily in the energy side of the ledger*.

When one dies, the physical form and spiritual break contact. The process is not precisely understood. Many different theories abound as to how this works and what happens after it is complete. It is my understanding that when we die, we have the choice of where we can go in the spiritual realm. This need not be movement to a permanent abode. I do believe that reincarnation happens. I also believe that the spiritual realms that people describe such as Heaven or the Elysian Fields are real. A great deal of thought and spiritual effort went into the creation of these places in the spiritual realm.

It may be that the physical manifestation of their existence is in the vibrational echo left in the physical plane of existence from the thoughts of their existence, but it is sufficient to support the spiritual existence. Just as our homes are more present in the physical world then the spiritual, so too are these 'realms'.

* Please note wave-particle duality of theoretical physics.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Magical Studies: Theology I

Theology is a branch of the philosophical school of metaphysics that concerns itself with the questions pertaining to deity. Most people are familiar with the idea of theological inquiry with in the context of Judeao-Christian thought. It is, however, a subject of serious consideration within the pagan world as well. Many authors have contributed an impressive amount to the body of literature focused upon this topic from various pagan perspectives.

A small list of classical questions considered in any theological discussion are:

  • What is the nature of God/ess(s) (aka the Divine)?
  • What is the relationship between the Divine and the Universe?
  • What is the relationship between the Divine and humanity?
  • What is the meaning of Suffering? Why does Suffering happen?
  • What is the nature of Good?
  • What is the nature of Evil?
Elements of these questions have been presaged by our earlier discussion of Cosmology*. As such, we focus strictly upon the questions above with respect to the Divine. If additional questions are of interest to any of you, my Dear Readers, please post them in the comments. I shall do my best to answer them or provide guidance in determining the answer for yourselves**.

What is the nature of the Divine?
The Divine is the spiritual consciousness of the Universe. It can be experienced as a singular entity or as an entire pantheon of entities. Either experience is valid, as this is revealed via personal gnosis. Those who do not experience the spiritual consciousness of the universe as an entity have their own unique personal gnosis of the Divine. This should not be discredited or scorned, for all personal gnosis is accurate for the facet of the Divine that the individual is aware of.

What is the relationship between the Divine and the Universe?
The Divine permeates the Universe, thus being panentheistic It also has the capacity to be transcendent of the physical Universe, thus allowing for the transpersonal deity that is so recognizable in the major forms of monotheism around the world. The Divine can also be understood to be an integral element of the Universe, inseparable and thus allowing for pantheism. All apparent contradiction between the different aspects of the Divine are resolved by the mystery of the Divine's nature, as revealed by personal gnosis.

What is the relationship between the Divine and humanity?
Humans are both dependent upon the Divine for their existence and separate from the Divine, existing upon their own merits*** . The nature of the relationship between the Divine and humanity is paradoxical. It is one that can not be described directly but only by way of figurative language. Much of the language used is logically absurd, this, however, is because of the inherent weaknesses in language to describe sensory information with great exactness.

The Divine, with its capacity for presenting as individual deities, additionally can have a personal relationship with a given human. This relationship is defined by the individual deity and the person involved with them, much like any other personal relationship.

What is the meaning of Suffering? Why does Suffering happen?
Suffering has no intrinsic meaning. Humans have the capacity to give meaning to suffering within the context of their lives and experiences. The same is true for deities which have suffered****. Suffering is a natural part of the process of being alive. It is a morally neutral event in itself.

What is the nature of Good?
The concept of good can be particularly thorny. The common use of the term describes that which is morally correct. The precept of proper relationship between humanity, itself, the Universe, and the Divine can be approximated by the code of Virtue. Thus, good can be considered a synonym for honorable or virtuous.

What is the nature of Evil?
Evil is understood as the opposite of good. One who is evil, disrespects life and is cavalier in their approach to bringing death to other life forms. They sow intentional and willful suffering amongst other life forms, suffering that is in excess of necessity. Those who are evil spread strife needlessly. They fail to act honorably and violate the natural rights of others*****.


* Cosmology I and Cosmology II.

** A vast amount of the theology is build upon the unique relationship between the practitioner and the Divine. As such, there will be variations that come into play because of the differences in these individual relationships. What is presented here is to be considered a general guide and a reflection of my personal relationship with the Divine.

*** This can also hold true for all forms of life and spiritual beings.

**** It is possible to argue this can be the case with other lifeforms as well.

***** The natural rights of a person are:
  • Self-determination and freedom of thought
  • Freedom of expression
  • To live without the will of another imposed upon them with out their consent
  • To live without the actions of another imposing suffering upon them without their consent
  • To interact with society at their own discretion and decision
  • To defend themselves from others who intend them harm

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Magical Studies: Cosmology II

In my previous post, I discussed the pertinent philosophical cosmological questions with respect to the Universe at large. By logical extension, we have now come to the personal cosmological questions. These questions are:
  • What is the nature of my existence?
  • What is the purpose of my existence?
  • What is the purpose of consciousness?
  • How do I relate to the Universe?
The answers for these questions are different for each person. I propose, however, that there are general answers that can be upheld for most people, despite their respective circumstances. As such, I humbly present the following for your consideration:

What is the nature of my existence?
The nature of the human existence is to be a finite physical being with a finite spiritual aspect. A great deal of overlap is between the spiritual and physical aspects. It is in this overlap that we have the 'mental' element of the human mind, including but not limited to our concept of self, emotions, and abstract thought.

What is the purpose of my existence?
The purpose of human existence is to exist and answer biological imperatives for the perpetuation/continuation of the species. Any additional elements are self directed, thus the purpose for one human's existence is different from the purpose of another human's.

What is the purpose of consciousness?
The purpose of consciousness is to experience existence. It is additionally, to process the experience and incorporate it into the evolving and fluid psyche/spirit of the conscious being. It is not my believe that consciousness is the sole domain of humans. It is my belief that such a line of reasoning is excessively anthropomorphic and grossly flawed.

How do I relate to the Universe?
Humanity is an integral part of the make up of the Universe. We are dependent upon it for our existence even as we are capable of experiencing a sense of independence from it. There are elements of the spiritual aspect of the Universe that are more primarily rooted in said aspect that can have a powerful corresponding influence upon the material aspect. These spiritual elements range in fortitude. The most powerful of them being deities. We have the capacity to interact with these spiritual aspects of the Universe by way of our own spiritual elements.

Magical Studies: Cosmology I

Cosmology has a few different meanings. While I adore physics and find the study of cosmology within that science to be purely a joyful academic exercise, in this blog entry, I am focusing upon the philosophical (specifically metaphysical school) study of cosmology. Within the school of metaphysics, as we look upon the matter of cosmology, there are a few basic questions that must be addressed. These questions are:
  • What is the nature of the Universe?
  • How did it come to exist?
  • What is the Universe made of?
  • How does it function?
  • What is the purpose of the Universe?
  • How do we know what we know of the Universe?
 In a related vein, we also have the questions pertaining to oneself that require to be addressed. These questions are:
  • What is the nature of my existence?
  • What is the purpose of my existence?
  • What is the purpose of consciousness?
  • How do I relate to the Universe?
Before we address the personal questions of existence, let us take a moment to look at the larger questions, of which these are a subset.

What is the nature of the Universe?
The Universe is a complex thing. Various different mythologies can be used to describe it. Ultimately, it is my understanding that the Universe is comprised of various elements that can be observed and interacted with by many different means. I believe that the Universe is an organic whole wherein all parts are interdependent upon the others for their existence and function. I believe that no two people will have identical experiences of the Universe due to the complexity of it.

How did it come to exist?
The physical aspects of the Universe came to exist via a method that is described by the standard cosmological theory.  The 'creation' event is a mystery and one that I do not believe we will ever fully comprehend. The spiritual aspects of the Universe came into existence with a parallel event. It is my understanding that this can be described in many different theological terms. All theological descriptions are allegorical of the initial event and I think that as such, all theological descriptions are valid. The World Tree and the Nine Worlds of the Teutonic peoples has equal place as the Judeo-Christian vision of the cosmos as the atheist's vision of the cosmos.

What is the Universe made of?
I briefly touched upon this in my response to the two earlier questions. Please, allow me to state it directly: the Universe is made of physical and spiritual elements. The physical elements can be understood, observed, and interacted with in accordance to what we know of the material world. The spiritual element is suffused through and incorporated into the physical elements. It is observable by subtle methods and can be interacted with by means of focused mental effort and the exercises that make up the core activities of spiritual behaviors as observed in a religious context and in occultism. This includes but is not limited to the various schools of magic practiced since antiquity.

What is the function of the Universe?
The function of the Universe is the same as the purpose of its existence. This is to simply exist. There is no vast, grand scheme behind the existence of it. It exists and self perpetuates. I do not believe that the Universe technically has a beginning (as all was present within the quantum singularity prior to the 'Big Bang') and that it will not have an ending (because this requires a violation of the first law of thermodynamics).

What is the purpose of the Universe?
See above.

How do we know what we know of the Universe?
All knowledge is based upon experience. We experience the Universe by way of our senses. It is my understanding that our senses are not limited to taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound. I believe that we also have spiritual cognates to these senses that can be experienced. It is due to a failure of our language (which is heavily biased towards the classical five senses) that we do not have adequate descriptions of these spiritual cognates. We learn and extrapolate information by way of incorporating details that we become aware of via experience (ie: we see to read a book). At the core of all the information gathering, however, our knowledge comes from experience. All experience is colored by our unique circumstances as a participant-observer of the Universe.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Virtues & Honor

One may ask what is virtue and how does one become known as honorable. Some may ask if honor has a place in today's world. I don't claim to know the role that these two things play in the lives of my peers. I only known how they are important to me and how they are reflected in my beliefs. Those who practice Asatru may recognize some of my code of behavior. Fellow Wiccans may find things that strike very close to their own personal codes of conduct. What I present to you is the synthesis of many years of research and searching. This is a living tradition, thus it will change and evolve as time progressed on.

Virtue is defined as moral excellence. To make sense of this term, let's take a moment to look at the word 'moral.' The first definition presented at is the one that I am using here.
of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical [...]
Now, one may ask, how to you know what is right conduct? How does one distinguish between right and wrong? There is the oft quoted Wiccan Rede that many people use as their moral guide. I, however, have something more then the Rede. In no particular order, may I present to you what I like to call the code of virtue.
  1. Treat all life respecfully.
  2. Extend hospitality to all guests who come to you in a peacable manner.
  3. Respect the hospitality of your hosts as you would that of a close kinsman.
  4. Never initiate a fight, but always end them when they come to you.
  5. Be thrifty and conserve your resources as best you may.
  6. When among strangers, conduct your business in good faith and be respectful of their ways.
  7. Honor yourself and maintain your health and good name as best you can.
  8. Be truthful as often as possible. When not possible, state as little as possible. Silence is more honorable then a lie. A lie spoken under duress or in necessity, however, does not stain one's honor.
  9. Stand on your own feet and do as much as you may under your own power. Asking for help is not shameful, but it should only be done in times of necessity.
  10. Do not make idle boasts or oaths. Stay true to your word and carry out all oaths you have pledged yourself to.
  11. Treat the gods and spirits with respect, even if they are not your own. There is power beyond human knowledge in them. It is better to have them as allies then foes.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Tradition of Wicca

In my earlier post, I gave a quick overview of what Wicca is about. Now I'm going to give you a bit of background about what my Tradition is like. Some of this is going to look much like mainstream Wicca and some of it is going to look like Asatru. And then there are going to be elements that are entirely different from them. As my Tradition is part of a living religion, it evolves and changes to adapt to my needs as time passes. What I write here is something of a snapshot of how I currently practice Wicca.

I was raised in an atheist/agnostic household. My mother was a kitchen witch in the secular sense with some veneration of the Aseir thrown in. My earliest introduction to the Aseir, Vanir, and Jotnar came from the bedtime stories read to my brothers and I from a book of Scandinavian myths for children. While my parents didn't perform any rituals or habitual acts of veneration, they didn't discourage us from worship. For a time, my siblings and I swore oaths by Odin, made shrines to the Vanir, searched to find Jotuns, and got into fist fights over which deity was the best. I am fairly certain that the Aseir, Vanir, and Jotnar all got a fair amount of laughter out of the three of us.

As we grew older, my brothers moved away from worshiping the gods of our ancient ancestors. I continued in my worship but gradually became discouraged because I didn't know others who did so. My interest in religion was encouraged by my mother, my paternal grandmother, and my aunts. For a time, I went to church with my Prebyterian grandparents and uncle. I grew bored with it after a few months and left, not bothering to look back. I continued to hold the gods of my ancient ancestors in high regard, though I stopped praying to them.

In my early teens, I was initiated in to Wicca by my aunts. Suddenly, my psychic experiences made sense. My relationship with the Divine took on depth that I hadn't expected but intuitively knew was there. I pledged myself to serve as a visionary priestess of the Goddess in a small solitary ritual out on the back 40 acres of the farm. From that point on, I found myself pushed to study and research the Celts and the Norse peoples. I dabbled in soft polytheism for a while but kept returning to hard polytheism when dealing with the deities of these peoples.

The importance of honor and keeping one's word was impressed on me from an early age. I also had the importance of hospitality and guest right put before me, though not in those terms. As my education about the Celtic people expanded, I began to interact with the nature spirits about my home. I learned how to handle interactions with spiritual beings with respect and grace. I also began to engage in ancestor veneration.

Today, I acknowledge the gods of different peoples as separate and unique identities. The Goddess and God of Wicca are present in my life as well. They are their own unique identities and at times manifest wearing the appearances of other deities. This, however, does not happen as frequently as it once did. I celebrate the holy days of Wicca and keep an altar dedicated to the Wiccan gods. I give votive offerings to Loki (my patron deity) and his wife Sigyn. I leave votive offerings for the dead at times as well.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What is Witchcraft about?

If you saw my earlier post, you may recollect that I mentioned the definition of witchcraft. Witchcraft is more complex then a few parlor tricks and a couple of nifty talents in the psychic arena. In Wicca, specifically, there is a wide range of variation between the different sects (known as Traditions). There are a few basic points, however, that can be upheld as consistent through these different sects.

Wicca is a religion that is panentheistic and animistic. Where as many of the more 'mainstream' religions view the Divine as separate from the world, Wicca views the world as being suffused with the essence of the Divine and that all things living are ensouled. Frequently, Wiccans also understand the land and all within nature to be possessed of a spirit. Some will contend that locations have their own spiritual identity as well. We Wiccans revere nature and highly respect the spirits that populate our world along side us.

In addition to these spirits, we also understand the universe to be comprised of the five classical elements. We recognize these elements as being present in all things and ruled over by spiritual beings we call Elementals. The classical elements are viewed more as a spiritual matter rather then a literal one. They are understood as different states of matter and associated with various things. Each Tradition has their own unique perception of the Elementals and their respective spheres of influence.

It can be easy to confuse Elementals with deities who are associated with a given element. In classical Wicca, the religion is focused upon dualistic theism. There is a multifaceted god and goddess that are worshiped. These different deities are viewed as aspects of the god and goddess. The practice of invoking these aspects of deity is known as aspecting. Aspecting is different from possession, though it shares many traits. (This will be discussed on its own at a later date.) There are other Traditions of Wicca that are more hard polytheistic then classical Wicca. The Tradition that I am a part of is a blending of hard and soft polytheism. There is no fixed rule in Wicca that states how hard or soft one's polytheistic leanings should be.

The religious practices of mainstream Wicca (and yes, there is a mainstream branch of Wicca) are fairly consistent through the different Traditions. They are also flexible enough that they can be adapted to the needs of a given Wiccan. Religious rites take place within a ritually drawn circle. The invocation of the Elementals is made to ensure the presence of benevolent spirits and to keep away that which could be harmful or counter to the purposes of one's ritual. A blessing is said over the participants and the gods are invoked. Depending upon the purposes of the ritual, meditation, spell casting, divination, or devotional activities take place. A blessing is then said over the cakes and wine, which is then shared by the participants. Following this, the gods are thanked for their guidance and aid. Then the Elementals are thanked for their assistance. The circle is ritually dismantled and the rite is done.

The most frequently expressed moral standard for Wiccans is the Law of Three. It is unclear if this was something that Gerald Alexander or Doreen Valentine developed or if it was passed down to them by the New Grove coven. (There is inconclusive evidence as to the existence of the New Grove coven but that is a discussion for a different time.) The Law of Three is a variant of the most basic law of causality. It has been phrased many different ways and it seems that each Tradition of Wicca has their own version of it.

The variant that I adhere to is:

That which you do returns three times. The first time is the immediate consequences of your action. The second time is the social consequences of your actions. The third time is the long term consequences of your actions.

Acting against another person is very strongly frowned upon unless it is done in self defense or in aid of one who is defenseless. Magic is not to be done for some one else with out their permission unless it is the most dire of cases. (A more precise rule of conduct will be discussed later.)

Starting out at square one...

Hello. You may have come to this blog aware of witchcraft and interested in seeing what another person on that path does. You may have come to this blog by accident, looking for more information about witchcraft or how veiling is part of a pagan path. To those of you who are familiar with Wicca (a religious form of witchcraft), I know that my next few articles are going to be old news to you. You dear Readers who are not familiar with Wicca, please post your questions in the comments. I will do my best to address them in a timely fashion.

Witchcraft is defined as:
  1. the art or practices of a witch; sorcery; magic.
  2. magical influence, witchery.
Anthropologists at one point used the term witchcraft to describe people who practiced magic or have supernatural powers. Wikipedia has a fairly good article about it. I will be discussing witchcraft in the terms of Wicca and my familial Tradition. If you want more information about secular witchcraft, I will be happy to write about that as well.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


First, I would like to apologize for not posting anything in here recently. My life has been rather busy and my blogs have been left languishing. I intend to have a new post or three up by the end of the week.

I do have a second blog relating to witchcraft. Please, take a look and enjoy my more casual ramblings.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Beltaine 2012

This evening is reckoned as the beginning of the high holiday of Beltaine by many. Some observe it on the first of May and others observe it on the astronomical cross quarter day. Still other people reckon it by the first full moon following the first of May. There are many variations.

My altar is aglow with candles. If I had the means, I'd have a bonfire and be celebrating the season with my pagan friends. Unfortunately, we can not have all that we wish. Beltaine has been a special holiday for me. It was the first of the high holidays that I celebrated with my husband after our handfasting near Mabon. (Familial obligations and other comittments made celebrating Yule, Imbolc, and Ostara not possible. It was a surprise visit from him when I was away that allowed us to celebrate Beltaine together.)

It was the fire festival that Rose had given me the goddess pendant that I treasure, as part of a fertility rite that I sincerely believe helped my husband and I conceive our children. It is one of the high holidays that I can feel the presence of the Sidhe most strongly about me. It was one of the high holidays that I was able to celebrate with Stargazer when we were at college. I am sure, even now, these two blessed women smile upon me from the otherside. With them, I am sure, is my aunt Shawn who helped guide me down this path.

Beltaine opens the door to the summer season and brings the blessings of fertility upon us, for which I am immensely grateful. I haven't any wondrous words of wisdom for you tonight. I exhort you, instead, to immerse yourself in the pulse of life that throbs about you. Eat food that delights you, drink beverages that you enjoy, and do that which makes you feel happy and alive. The Gods have blessed us with life and urge us to celebrate it.

May you be blessed this Beltaine.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Veil.

Like several other pagan women (and possibly some pagan men), I am called to veil myself. Where some do so out of modesty or similar sentiment (especially in the Christian communities), I do so because my Goddess told me to cover my hair from those who would not respect me and to protect my power from those who would profane me. It is for this reason that I cover my hair and am striving to learn more techniques to do so gracefully.

It may sound silly, but the type of veiling that I do is increasingly pushed towards the type that is seen in traditional European Mariological iconography. I'm not entirely sure how to work this into my wardrobe, but I've been realizing it isn't just an aesthetic preference. Some how, I am supposed to do this. As I look at the different images, I am really intensely studying the way they are approached and finding that some of the icons are almost physically impossible with out a MASS of pins. And then there are ones like below where it looks just draped over the head. I'm stumped on how to recreate this and not have it blow away. A work in progress.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ostara 2012

Today is the Vernal Equinox. It is celebrated in my faith under the name Ostara. It is the feast day of Springtide. In my tradition, the Spring season begins with Imboleg (Feb. 2) and runs until Beltane (May 1). Ostara is recognized as the height of the season.

At Imboleg, we plan for the growing season. Those of us who garden or do plant magic have the time between Imboleg and Ostara for planning and preparing for the planting. Between Ostara and Beltane, we plant. Ostara could also be known as the celebration of the First Furrow.

At this time, seeds and planting tools are blessed. All endeavours that are begun at this time are considered auspicious. Doubly so if they are undertaken during the waxing moon. Children born during this time are considered by some to be especially luck and of an outgoing nature.

With the waxing of the Sun, we find the overt signs of life and fertility are all about us. The world turns green with new growth, animals come out of hibernation, and many different kinds of young are whelped. It is the return of the Greenman and a time of blessings. This is a joyous time. A season for new beginnings and hope for all.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Acts of Devotion.

I write because it is in my blood. I write because it is part of who I am. I write because it is the one gift that I can give that has truly come from within myself. It is the gift that I can give that is worthy of the gods.

Sure, I can crochet, knit, spin, or otherwise manufacture something physical. Something more tangible then words, I suppose. That, however, is the art of manipulating something that someone else has produced. My words are strictly mine.

I struggled with the idea of my writing being considered good enough for the gods. Then it was made clear to me that it doesn't matter if I feel that it is good enough. It just matters that I do it. It is difficult to step around my ego and simply let the words flow.

It is a difficult habit to break, this self-judgment. Still, I try my best. Some days I am more successful at suspending my disbelief in myself then I am at others. It is not an easy task but my Beloved husband made an excellent point one time when he said that nothing worth doing is easy.

Acts of devotion for any faith are not supposed to be easy. They are not supposed to be formulaic or rote, something performed by way of muscle memory with out any aspect of the thinking mind engaged. Acts of devotion are supposed to challenge us. They are our outpouring of our side of the relationship with the divine. For some people, reciting a litany of prayers is difficult and it forces them to focus more upon their unique relationship with their god(s). For other people, different acts of devotion are required.

This is not because these other acts of devotion are of greater or lesser value compared to each other. This is because each person is unique and their acts of devotion must be tailored to their own unique method of communicating with the divine.

That, however, is just my late evening ramblings upon the subject.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Following the Goddess

I am a devotee of the Goddess. She has appeared to me variously as:
  • Diana, chaste and fierce Huntress, maiden of the waxing moon
  • Morrigan, sensual and savage War-Queen, bringer of death and rebirth
  • Great Mother, still, quiet, and filled with boundless love for all life
The Goddess appears in many, many more fashions. I am certain that I shall have encounters with those faces as my years walking the earth wax long. As I read of the writings of others who worship the Goddess, I find myself yearning to read more that is in accordance with what I have experienced.

In my experiences with Diana, I have seen the raw power of nature flowing freely from her. In her, I see not only the power of humanity's highest potential but this pulsing flow that pushes through the hearts of all living creatures. Diana is beautiful and not to be trifled with. She is not only present in the hunter but also in the hunted. She could be upheld as Queen of the Chase, though I suspect some would find that phrasing odd.

In my experiences with Morrigan, I have felt the maternal qualities of this ancient goddess. She has taken me in hand and thrust me forward through rites of passage, much like a midwife helping to birth a child. Morrigan is also terrifying in her wrath. I have felt only the echo of it, for it was directed at one who had brought me harm. For a moment, I pitied that man. Only for a moment, for Morrigan turned to me and asked me why I pitied one who came deserving into her grasp. The grip of the Great Crow is not only maternal and a source of steadying strength for her devotees. It is also the unerring reach of karmic backlash.

The Great Mother is both familiar and foreign to me. Her gentleness bewilders me. I find myself expecting the hardness of Morrigan. As I slowly move forward upon this path of learning, the Great Mother watches me with a bemused quality in her gaze. I come away from it feeling like a small child struggling to do something that looked so simple when the adult did it. I struggle with all of my grotesque issues with the concept of one being a mother to me. They seem to become even more enormous when I look at the Great Mother.

Thankfully, she is patient and has a healing touch. The wounds to my soul run deep but I know that I am healing. I know it is in part due to my own efforts but more could be said to be the result of divine grace.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Seeing Things

Being psychic and serving as an oracular priestess are two very different things. When I speak of being known as a Sybil, it is the latter that I am referring to. People tend to twitter nervously when the topic of being psychic comes up. They have their preconceived ideas of what a psychic is like, usually including gaudy jewelery and crystal balls. I have seen people become down right fearful when I am in 'priestess mode'.

It is not because I actively do anything to threaten them. Indeed, I do what I can to put them at ease and prepare them for when I take on that role. There is a distinct change in my demeanor. Unlike some others, I take my work as a priestess quite seriously. At times, I am called upon by my gods to serve as their mouthpiece. At other times, I am called to provide comfort and advice to others. I have had the experience of serving as the vessel of their compassion. I have also stood by, bearing witness to events that pass in accordance with their will.

Of all the tasks that I have been called to do, the ones where I must simply witness something and take no action have been the hardest. I see people laboring with great suffering. My heart breaks to see it but I have been forbidden to do anything beyond watch and remember.

Most people think that being psychic means we see the future. Sometimes, it means that we see a greater depth of the present. It is a blessing and a curse to be naturally gifted with this. A blessing because we can be the harbinger of great hope. A curse because we can see tragedy coming like a wave unfurling. To serve as an oracular priestess on top of this, it sharpens the edge and makes the psychic activity more intense.

Some people who are psychic get a quick visual flash of something, as though they were shown a photograph. Then there are those who are like me. When I am experiencing my psychic gifts at full force, I see the situation as though I am immersed in it. If the gods choose to add their touch, all the qualities of what I experience in my vision becomes even more intense. Scents, tastes, tactile sensations, they all play into the vision. It can be a fearful thing.

One may ask, why do something that brings these more intense and occasionally terrifying things to you? I started out on this path in a desperate effort to understand why I had dreams of things that happened. When I was twelve, I had a dream of a bus accident. I saw it unfold from two different perspectives. The first was inside the bus. The second was from above. It was such a realistic dream that I woke expecting to see carnage around me. The sensations of realism is what marks my prophetic dreams from my normal ones.

For almost a month and a half, I had this dream. I was afraid to ride the bus to school because of this dream. Then, one day, I didn't have it. I felt relieved. I thought perhaps it was just a series of nightmares. The next day, the bus accident did happen. It was somewhere in Texas. Pictures of it were broadcasted in the news, taken from a helicopter, looking exactly as it had in my dream. I felt sickened and as though I was some how the cause of the accident.

My aunt took me aside and explained to me that sometimes psychic people see things that they can't do anything about. It is because we are just to witness them. Sometimes, we see things and we can potentially take action to avert the ending of the sequence. Most of the time, it is just to witness. When I started practicing witchcraft, I made a rash promise to the gods. I promised that I would use my psychic gifts in their service.

As a result of that promise, I have had what was an occasional thing (dreaming things that were to happen) become a regular occurrence. Usually, my dreams are of little things. Stuff such as my kids spilling their cups of milk or the tableau of a room at a certain moment are what I see most. And, as I was taught by a wise man, I act as though nothing unusual has happened. For the longest time, I didn't understand that other people didn't have this happen to them. I tried to talk to them about it and I found myself in very uncomfortable situations as a result.

Now, I keep quiet about my visions. I write them down when they're more significant then milk getting spilled or toys being tripped over. And the nature of my visions have gradually come to include symbolic images as well. I sometimes wish I could share these visions with more people. I sometimes wish that I had companions in this path that I have been walking, people I could share intimately about these things.

I've a very small number of people whom I do discuss these things with. I think they'd be pleased that I have taken the time to write about what it is like to be afflicted with this. Somedays, it is positively terrifying because I'm not sure if I am losing my mind. Society tells us that people who hear the voice of god are mad. Society tells us that people who have visions are mentally unhinged and therefore dangerous. Goddess help you if you happen to be one of those people and you have a legitimate mental illness on top of it. For, sadly, you will have times where you question yourself savagely.

I will grow out of that questioning eventually. Until then, I suppose I must keep the maxim "the unexamined life is not worth living" in my thoughts.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Greeting and an Introduction.

Hello. Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Deborah, also known as Cydira, Argent Asling, and Brythwen Sinclair. As you may have gathered from the title of this blog, I am a practicing witch. To be more specific, I am a practicing Wiccan of a family tradition that goes back several generations. I am blessed with psychic ability and I have a knack for divination. Amongst the pagans I socialize with, I'm known as a seer and a Sybil.

It has taken me over fifteen years to sit down and write this. Scattered bits and pieces of my work can be found on websites such as MysticWicks and a few Yahoo groups. (I have another blog (here) that is focused more upon theological inquiries and general ramblings on the matter of life as a witch. Feel free to take a peek.) It has only been recently that I laid aside my fears and begun acting in full accord with the deepest urgings of my soul, including writing this.

Today marks the end of the second full week of my wearing a head covering in public. It is only fitting that I begin this project at the beginning of my wearing a veil or headscarf (which I'll explain in a bit). It is also quite appropriate that I have begun this project in close correspondence with Imbolc. For Imbolc has become something of a time for modern Wiccans to rededicate themselves to the Craft and to initiate others.

One may ask why I cover my hair, especially when some of the most famous liturgical texts of modern Wicca exhort us to be naked in our rites as a sign of our freedom. I cover my hair when in public not out of shame or some sense of modesty. Rather, as a sign of my obedience to my goddess. She has said to me that I am to veil myself as an outward sign to others that I am her chosen daughter and priestess.

Only family and a chosen few, those whom I know respect and love me, shall be permitted to see my tresses. When in the ritual circle, I will wear my hair free and unbound as a sign of my power. In keeping my hair hidden, I protect my power and ward off the envious eye of others, along with their potential ill wishes. Months ago, I had very long hair. It was almost unmanageably long. Acting upon a combination of spiritual prompting and old fashioned frustration with my hair, I had eighteen inches cut off.

Since then, the pull to veil myself has grown even stronger. I could no longer deny the urge when I read of another pagan who veils herself. It was an article that told me I truly could give myself permission to do this with out fear of scorn. Seeing another's success can be extremely empowering.

The last two weeks have been a learning process. The first thing I learned is that I do not own enough basic kerchiefs to use a clean one everyday. A bit of fabric manipulation is required or the purchase of more. I'm honestly not sure which is the better option. I also learned that I do so love the look of how Jewish women and Muslim women veil themselves. Thirdly, I learned that it is quite challenging to research European veiling traditions. And, finally, while I do enjoy the appearance of a wimple and veil, it is far too complicated for anything but a special occasion.

An enormous amount of the literature available discussing veils and head coverings in the Western world (after weeding out the strictly wedding oriented articles) focus heavily on modesty. As I mentioned earlier, it is not modesty that has me covering my hair. It is a direct word from my goddess. While others may get tattoos or piercings, I do not have that luxury. My skin can not take the ink for various medical reasons and piercings would be problematic because of my metal allergies.

Thus, I am directed to veil and dress in a certain manner. When I have the means, I will transition away from wearing slacks most of the time to wearing skirts and dresses. Why? Because I am exhorted to embrace my femininity and those garments help put me in touch with it. When I was young, I went for a period of time dressing in this manner (sans veil/head covering). I felt empowered in my female nature.

It was unfortunate that others verbally attacked me for this and drove me away from this genuine expression of my soul. I have learned a great deal in the two decades since then. Stargazer taught me something important for the time that she was in my life. If you don't love who you are, then you are being somebody else. Stargazer was an incredible woman who I am proud to say was like a sister to me and my best friend. I think if she saw me today with my bit of head covering and how at peace it makes me, she'd say that I was a great fool for denying myself for so long. And follow up with a laugh and say "Silly Deb."

It is that kind of warmth and loving support that I am hoping to cultivate through my writing here for other young Witches and Seekers. Many of us come to Witchcraft after a great deal of searching. It is possible to find it austere and imposing. At the same time, there is an incredible depth of unconditional love that is available to any who wish to engage in a relationship with the Lady, the great goddess of Wicca. It is my hope to help guide you in building that relationship by way of modeling my own road to wisdom. (Of which I have many a mile left to walk.)

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