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

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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