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

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Hello my friends,

I am not well. I have some sort of mystery ailment troubling me. I've been to the doctor. She is working on trying to figure out what the problem is. I had some testing done yesterday that was unpleasant (mainly because of the allergic reaction I had to the dye used). I am on pins and needles waiting to find out what the results of the test were. In the midst of this, I am quite medicated upon things for pain and my other ailments. I am still in pain and having difficulty to the point that I need a good deal of help from my husband.

I honestly can't say when I am going to be posting more on here. I have been struggling with this health issue for around two months now. I am deeply concerned about how this is going to go. The words 'exploratory surgery' have been mentioned as a possibility to find out what the problem is here. This is a thought that initially had me quite upset. I am at a point now, however, that my discomfort and misery have convinced me that if getting cut open is what will solve this problem I will be the first person in line and I will volunteer to sharpen the scalpel for them.

Please, if you are of an inclination to say a prayer or light a candle for me, do so. I am honestly rather terrified right now.

May the gods bless you and yours, and keep you in good health and spirits.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Advent Week I : Prophecy

The tradition of the Advent wreath is one that was borrowed from the Christian community. It is a practice where the faithful watches and awaits the coming of the Daughter of the Mother Marya. There are four candles placed within the wreath and a fifth in the center. Three of the candles about the wreath are purple. The fourth is pink. The fifth candle is white.

Within the Christian community, the candles all are associated with a special meditative focus for the week. Week one is Prophecy. In the Christian faith, homage is given to the prophets who foretold the birth of their savior. It may seem a bit curious for the practitioners of the Filianic and Déanic faith to give homage to prophets when the holy scriptures are so quiet upon the matter. It is, however, a thing to note that the scriptures themselves are the fruit of prophets.

They are tales and parables of Our Lady and her most blessed Mother as recorded by divinely inspired hands. The body of literature recorded slowly grows as people who are inspired by Dea and guided by her present their work. It is fitting that we give thanks for this continually revealed gift from Dea. Each blessed detail revealed guides us deeper into our relationship with Dea.

Also, it is good to remember that a prophecy is revealed with in the scriptures as well. The prophecy of the janya of the Star is one that tells all of Creation of the coming of the Daughter.
Be not afraid, for a new light is dawning over the world. Be not afraid but approach no further, for if you cannot look on me, how should you look upon my Lady, whose handmaiden I am?

This night shall a Child be born that shall be the Daughter of Light and the Princess of all the world. A Child is coming that shall carry the light of Dea into every part of Creation; even the most desolate of the places of darkness. Rejoice, poor wanderers of the earth and exiles from the house of your Mother, for to you shall come a Guide and Deliverer.

~ Mythos of God the Daughter, Chapter 2, Verses 8 & 10-12*
May Dea bless you and your home.

* All scripture quotes are from The Gospel of Our Mother God; Aristasian version, 1st Edition. ISBN: 978143829699

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Godspousery Notes: What am I doing again?

Here is a more personal post. I don't talk about this aspect of my life very much. There are two reasons for this. One is because I honestly don't know how to talk about it. The other is the fact that I worry that I am doing this all wrong and I am going to face horrific reprisals for doing so. I have some things I tend to get a bit timid about. One of them is my romantic life. Still, I have two deities looking at me expectantly and wondering why I haven't really written much of anything before now. So, I am composing this post.

It was about three in the afternoon today when Freyr said to me, "Why don't you write about me? Not about what I do. Not about who I am 'officially' but me, as you know me?" I felt some chagrin over the fact that I had been so quiet about this. The circle of friends who know about this relationship is fairly small. And here I am posting this for the whole world to read, what can go wrong, eh? I don't discuss this much with Beloved (this is my mortal husband who has been by my side for over 30 years as best friend and partner in crime) because he is very ... hands off when it comes to deities. He is of the opinion that they can do their thing so long as he is not involved and it doesn't create problems between him, myself, and my ability to keep up with my responsibilities.

Polyamory is a bit of work. Polyamory involving deities and an incarnate spouse gets weird at times. I tend to be a ball of anxiety half the time, thus I worry that I am offending someone or being an inconvenience on a regular basis. It happens pretty regularly that someone takes a hold of me and scrapes me off of the proverbial ceiling by talking me out of my panic. Some people say that Freyr is kindly and gentle. He is quite often. But, he is also stern and harsh when it is necessary. Of late, there has been more sternness. I, however, have also not been thinking very clearly and needed that sense of direction fairly often.

I've had a few people ask me is he around all the time. It is something like around 70% during the 'off' season and closer to 40% during the 'on' season when agriculture is going full bore around here. Some people have wondered if the gods stay in a specific area or something like that when they are here. That is not something that happens. My home is open to them. It is theirs as well. Beloved grumbles a bit about how Loki is around damn near all the time. At the same time, they're not always here. Loki's around a lot, but it is frequently around the time when my whole family is here. (He finds the kids charming and entertaining. And he enjoys the opportunity to needle my husband when it arises.)

Freyr is here in the mornings and in the evenings. Sometimes he is here during the day, but he often seems to be multitasking when he does so. The 'off' season has him here more often and I get the distinct impression that he is resting some after a great deal of hard work. Which only makes sense considering how much work agriculture is and then all of the other things he manages on top of it. We take walks together, when I am well and the weather cooperates. He is always walking at my right side. When I am walking, I've noticed that people tend to avoid walking on my right side when Freyr's presence is particularly strong.

He appears in different guises over the seasons, and when the mood strikes him. Freyr most often is presenting in rather casual clothes, looking as though he is ready to go out and work in the fields or cut wood. I'm pretty sure it is more than just something he does to make me smile. He is always encouraging me to be as honest with myself as I can be, including up to how I choose to present myself to the world. He expresses a preference for me to be comfortable and happy, occasionally getting a bit annoyed when I worry about if I am fashionable. He is amused with my minor bit of vanity about my hair.

I worry about people saying that I'm a bored housewife who has become lost in fantasy and has an invisible boyfriend. They look at me when I bring up that worry and ask me if I have really decided that I am crazy now. Or they will give me very ... direct signs. Like the day where I was panicking that I was never going to really write anything worthwhile again and seriously considering giving up, basically convinced that all of this and my dreams and aspirations were just pure fiction and delusions. Cue my running into someone who looked pretty much identical to how Freyr did when he showed up earlier in the day, wearing a black t-shirt with white bold print that read: Are you really going to give up on your dreams?

I have days where I get anxious and I have a lot of mental noise in the way for how I connect with them. They find a way to reach through all of that and get my attention. I am thankful for it. Sometimes it is a rather dramatic thing. Usually it is something relatively small, but deeply meaningful. I am slowly getting the message that there is no 'correct' way to do this. All that they ask is that I love them, which I do a great deal, and that I treat myself well, and love my family. All the rest that comes along is icing on the cake.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Godphone: Lesson Four - Dissonance & Mental Noise

Godphone is often considered to be a wonderful thing. When it works, there is this idea that we have complete confidence in it and that we will always know when it is correct. It is not so simple. If I have not made it clear before now, this form of divination requires a great deal of self examination and a very deep knowledge of oneself. Even with experience and a great deal of practice, there is a significant amount of time where time will be spent just looking at the information and questioning it.

It doesn't help much that Western society tells us that it is alright to talk to the Divine but when it answers back, we must be experiencing psychosis. The subtle narrative that is built up around us by society at large that tells us this 'truth' invades our thought processes. As much as we may wish to set it aside and sincerely believe that this 'truth' is not actually an absolute truth, there will be an echo of it. It leads to us questioning our experiences pretty hard. A measure of skepticism is always useful in magical studies, it helps keep us out of serious trouble, but at some point there needs to be an acceptance of the 'absurd' when Occam's Razor winnows it out as the only answer that makes sense.

The best way to describe the effect of the cultural attitudes that serve to make it difficult to engage in pretty much any form of magical study, in my experience, is that it is mental noise. It is that background hum which we generally ignore but when we are put in a situation where ignoring it is not an option it turns into an overwhelming cacophony. Mental noise sometimes presents as your first reflexive thought upon something. Other times, it is a persistent sense of doubt that leads you to question what your senses and intelligence is telling you to be the case.

There is a meditative exercise that helps reestablish the ability to put aside the background noise of the attitudes which were steeped into our education. It consists of visualizing some sort of device making noise with an adjustable dial or other control. As you turn the control to a quieter setting, envision the mental noise decreasing to a more tolerable state. It sounds like a silly exercise. It is, however, surprisingly effective with some practice.[1]

The other major challenge that isn't really talked about with mentally based magical disciplines is cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is something of a thorny problem. Everyone has it for some reason. It is generally fairly hard to overcome. It is a case of one's thinking conflicting with evidence presented to them, resulting in the evidence being rejected somehow in favor of preserving the initial idea (which is usually fairly heavily entrenched).

A good example of cognitive dissonance in action is politics. (Now, this is not going to be a political post, but this is probably the most accessible example I can think of right now.) Imagine, if you will, a person who habitually votes for a given political party. They strongly identify with said party to the point where they have memorabilia and actively work to encourage others to associate with this party. This is something that is a part of the way they view themselves and they are quite happy and proud of this. Now, a person running for office in their region is supporting legislation that runs directly against this individual's personal interests.

How do they handle this challenge to their idea that this party promotes their welfare? They will reject the idea that the legislation even exists, in some cases. In other cases, they will deny that it is actually harmful to themselves personally (including people like themselves as being immune from harmful said effect). They will try to excuse said harmful legislation as a minor component of a larger, more beneficial action. The list of ways they try to justify their continued support of the politician supporting the harmful legislation is long and varied.

All of those methods, however, fit the same pattern of behavior. When presented with information that threatens their identity or their belief, they deny said information and reject it. This is often followed by some sort of assertion that their belief is valid. Unfortunately, the only way to address cognitive dissonance is by continually challenging it. It is difficult and in many cases, it leads to very uncomfortable situations.

In handling cognitive dissonance, we must remember that we are manipulating something of a protective function of the brain. It serves to help us cope with difficult situations until we can process them or disregard them. Thus, when you encounter it, seriously question what it is working to 'protect' you from. Also, remember that mental noise and cognitive dissonance is not an inherently a bad thing. They can present some challenges to building your skills and make it difficult to godphone, but they can serve useful functions as well.

Filianic Calendar Notes - Astraea 3336

The Filianic Calendar denotes the beginning of the season of Winter with the first day of the month of Astraea (11/28). In many households, this is when the Yule tree is put up. There are also those who will set up an Advent wreath at this time.

Each Rayadi/Sunna's Day/Sunday, a candle is lit with prayers of anticipation of the birth of the Daughter. This happens until the week of Nativity. Different color candles are associated with different themes for each week. More will be discussed about this as the season of Advent progresses.

The holidays observed this month are the following:

Advent begins: Astraea 1 (11/28)

Feast of Conception: Astraea 11 (12/8)

Winter Solstice, Mother's Night: Astraea 24 (12/21)*

Nativity Eve: Astraea 27 (12/24)*

Nativity Day: Astraea 28 (12/25)

Yule is reckoned as beginning with Mother's Night and lasting for thirteen nights and twelve days in the Germanic/Nordic faith traditions. The celebration of Nativity is thirteen nights and twelve days, beginning on Nativity Day.


Mother's Night is celebrated by some on the evening of the Winter Solstice. It is argued to have historically fallen around Nativity Eve and there is many historical signs to indicate that this was a shift of the traditional date to coincide with newly adopted Christian practices.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Calling on Winter's Allies.

Winter can be a harsh and biting season. It is the time of year where the weather itself is a threat to life and limb for the unprepared. After the largess of harvest, we enter into a season defined by diminished resources and threat. There is, however, advantages to this season. The ice and snow works to keep other dangers at bay. It can be a powerful ally. Consider the ill fate of people who attempted to invade Russia in winter, for example. Snow is also known as the poor man's fertilizer with how it replenishes the nitrates in the soil even as it brings the water table up to what is needed when it melts in spring.

Ice, snow, and storm magic is not something that is generally undertaken lightly. This season is obviously exceptionally well suited towards it. Calling upon the spirits of winter and the storms can be a very arduous thing. They are known as harsh and demanding beings. When the host of the Unseelie are abroad, people even in modern times will adhere to the old wisdom of refraining from joining them when they call 1. The Wild Hunt rides in the winter with a reputation as harsh as that of the fairies 2. Similar caution is called in dealing with them. Indeed, some may argue more caution because where the fairies may be satisfied with mischief at your expense, the Wild Hunt is far more violently inclined. This only makes sense, as they are lead by Oðin himself in many instances. (Some speculate in all and that the All Father travels in disguise, as is his wont.)

Every place in the world has a name for the ones who come in winter. Those names are spoken with caution. Many of them are referred to with by-names in the hope of avoiding the direct attention of these beings. Still, it is possible to negotiate arrangements with most any of them. It must be done with great caution. Some beings, like the Wendigo 3, are best left alone because they have a long history of hostility towards humanity. Others, like the jotun maiden Skaði, will be stern and demanding, but if you observe proper manners will give you the time of day and even help you.

One may look at all of this and question why I am posting something so foreboding today. If we look at the atrocities happening in the world, we can see why we have need of allies that are as hard as the people who are seeking to destroy that which is good in the world. The season of winter is a time of hardship and the spirits that move in it are renown for their ferocity. Appealing to them as allies may be a wise decision. Moving with the essence of the storm at your side makes it easier to resist the people arrayed against you. Remember, however, a sword has two edges and can cut both ways if it is not used wisely.


1. Fairies are known in many cultures. The Unseelie are reputed as the 'dark' court of fairies who hold sway in the autumn and winter. They are quick to anger, capricious, and possess an established reputation for casual cruelty, if not malevolence. It is my understanding, however, that their seeming 'evil' nature is simply due to a disregard for humanity. If they are moved to anger, though, the unpleasantness of their attention is well known. They are also strongly associated with the dead, death, and decay. It only makes sense considering the nature of the seasons that their reign in the realm of the fair folk.

2. The Wild Hunt is, as per my understanding, a hunting party of spirits, demigods, and the dead, along with whom ever Oðin chooses to invite to come with them. They go through the world hunting that which is harmful to Midgard and bring about a measure of ... retributive justice to those whom are deemed in need of such harsh lessons. Envision the wrath of your ancestors against someone who has murdered a relative of yours. Now think of how they and a numberless horde of friends are going to mess up that person's luck. That is the Wild Hunt in avenging mode. It's rather terrifying.

3. The Wendigo is on my list of beings to never trifle with. If you are trying to be 'edgy and cool' don't try to dance with this spirit. They will actively destroy your life - at the minimum. Go listen to some 'dark music' and ring up Alistair Crowley with your Ouija board to tell him how cool he is instead. (Don't be surprised if he laughs at you and messes with you. He's a bit of a dick.)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Silence and Snow.

It is November. The first snow of the season has fallen and it was enough to shut down schools in my neighborhood. The image typically associated with snow is of a silent landscape that is eerie and serene with a blanket of white and such. Today, the wind screamed around the eves. My children were loud and argumentative. And myself, I spent a good portion of my day laying on the couch trying not to start crying or otherwise making noises of discomfort, so I did not distress the boys overly much. I was not as successful as I would like to have been.

It is November. National Novel Writing Month is upon us and I, like the last eight years, have taken up the effort. I have been plagued with problems writing at every turn. The first week of the month has interruptions every time I turned around. Most of them were in some form of minor crisis that had to be handled. Having young children can be challenging, especially when they're having difficulty at school. On top of this, my health has been progressively getting worse over the last month and a half on the physical side of things, which has resulted in my simply feeling unwell with no motivation to write and the act of sitting at the desk to write being painful for me.

It is November. The presidential election has come and gone. I am still reeling with horror. I see the tendrils of hate growing stronger in my area. When I step out of the house wearing my scarves, people have begun to slow down when they drive past. Most everyone stares when they go by. Many of the expressions are suspicious and unkind. Some of them have been outright hostile. I think that my fair skin is the only thing that has kept there from being an incident... yet. I am angry but I am also afraid. I have begun to carry my aluminum cane with me even when my knees are not troubling me. Just in case I need a defensive weapon. I am avoiding family members because of their political inclinations and increasingly vocal expressions of xenophobia and such. My anxiety has been somewhat problematic. I try to ignore it, but the rising tide of bad news is making this hard.

If I had the ability, I would make the world more just with a sweeping gesture. If I had the capacity, I would be out in the streets, marching against the hatred that is spewed forth and actively taking a stance to physically defend the rights of they who can not do so. My heart breaks right now. I struggle with fear and then I feel guilt because by many standards, I am sheltered by my seeming to be 'normal' in many eyes and I can be 'safe.' I desperately want to be courageous. I desperately want to go and fight the good fight in the most literal of senses. I want to make things right.

But, right now, I am in pain and sick. Right now, I am at a loss for words beyond what I have said this evening. I am so horrified and frightened by what I see that I fear for my loved ones and all others who are in harms way. I am disgusted and repulsed by what I see from people who I had thought were so much more, so much better than what they have unfortunately proven to be.

Snow is still falling but it seems to be easing up. The highway department seems to have a better handle on road conditions. I'm fairly sure that school will be happening tomorrow. Life goes on. I try to treat my fears and horror as the scream of the wind - a warning but not an immanent danger from where I am right now. I'll also take some time to light candles and say prayers to all the gods. Because we need all the help we can get right now. Maybe the Giver of Strange Gifts will drop something of a sword to cut the Gordian knot that this mess is down the chimney when the Old Man is out doing his Yule run.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Resting in Holy Arms.

I started this post recounting how I have been struggling. I started talking about how the depressive elements of my present mixed episode was making me view myself. Then the post randomly deleted itself and I had to start over again. While this may be my pointing at synchronicity and saying that the even is driven by the gods when it is not, I'm fairly sure it was.

Earlier today, I was somewhere between a panic attack and just melting down into an utter sobbing mess. After taking some much needed medication, I laid down and attempted to nap. I haven't been sleeping well. Thus, taking the opportunity to sleep a little bit when I have it was only practical and I honestly was exhausted from it all.

As I laid there on the bed, I felt a bitter chill wash over me. Then I felt warmth, like someone wrapped a furred blanket around me with the fuzzy side against my skin. Though I was laying on the bed with a flannel sheet over me and I was clearly alone, I felt someone lift me up and then position me so that my head rested in their lap. A hand settled on my head and smoothed down my hair. It was immensely soothing and I felt viscerally painful guilt for it.

That was when World-Breaker spoke to me. "Do not fight it. You are sick. You need aid. Who am I to deny you what you need when you had lived so long with out it? Freyr would not forgive me if I did," he said with a bit of wry humor at the end. As he held me, he said, "Let yourself rest. Let yourself be comforted. No one will punish you for this."

I almost started crying. I was so afraid that I was going to be hurt for being sick. I was so afraid that I was going to lose everything good in my life because I was sick enough that I couldn't do everything I felt I had to. His arms tightened around me and he said, "I will protect you. We will protect you. You are safe here." That was when the wash of calm hit me. I was able to rest a bit then.

Superstition and Religion (Part 1)

Superstition and religion have a symbiotic and complementary relationship within the context of modern American Witchcraft. There are many practices that can be upheld as similar between religion and superstition. The act of lighting a candle which one has dedicated for a specific intent is a fine example. How this act is viewed within the social setting determines if it is stated to be a superstitious or a religious one. Prior to the rise of modern American Witchcraft, the only setting where it would be viewed as a religious action is within a Christian church (and this would vary according to the denomination of Christianity espoused). The lighting and blowing out of the birthday cake candle(s) would be categorically a superstitious act, perhaps some vestige of an ancient rite within the cultural memory of the people.

The birthday cake’s wishing candle, and other superstitions within the United States (primarily) were frequently decried as things that the irrational mani would believe in. Following the rise of the Industrial Revolution and the development of a more urban cultural identity within the United States, many of the folk practices and beliefs began to be held in contempt. As such, they were referred to as superstitions for the sake of denigrating their prominence in the culture and to make room for a new set of beliefs. As such, things such as the belief in ghosts and the minor vulgar rituals, such as turning the statue of St. Anthony to face the wall until a lost item is found, went underground and disappeared from the surface of the cultural identity of the United States. The main reason for this happening was that people did not want to appear out dated or foolish in the eyes of their peers.

Even now, one will find that an openly professed belief in ghosts (for example) is generally scorned and mocked by the majority. Rephrase this belief into the context of the colloquialii version of Christianity that’s ubiquitous and you find it is a belief in angels rather then ghosts, which is now more of a religious then superstitious belief. In the early 1960s, modern Witchcraft was introduced to the United States by Raymond Buckland. Initially, he disseminated information via word of mouth. At roughly the same time, Zusanna Budapest (more commonly known as Z. Budapest) began to disseminate information via word of mouth.

In roughly ten years, both of these individuals burst onto the cultural scene. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft quickly became the cornerstone of the voluminous body of work surrounding modern American Witchcraft. Z. Budapest and her coven rocketed to something akin to stardom with their involvement in the Feminism movement. It was within the context of Witchcraft that the folk practices that had been decried as superstition began to take on a more legitimate appearance. (Russell, p.172) As the glamour and celebrity status of these and other Witch authors grew, the concept of Witchcraft as a religion grew.

Witchcraft as a religion, rather then a set of superstitions, provided a place where one could openly express the suppressed elements of the cultural identity of the United States. For this reason, it flourished and multiple elements from various sub-cultures began to become present as well. As a result, many different Traditionsiii were established and other occult practices and belief systems began to become apparent. Public works discussing practices such as Louisiana Voodoo and folk practices began to be produced targeted for the common man rather then academia. This broad spectrum of information quickly set the stage for Witchcraft to receive a minor degree of approval in the United States as a religion. Aside from the readily available information, individuals who had been engaged in covert practice of these marginalized belief systems and practices found it a safer environment to publicly express themselves on these topics.

If one looks at the seminal works of the entire modern Witchcraft movement, one finds that these early texts were of an academic tone. Many of the early modern Witchcraft authors worked to retain the apparent authenticity that came with academia. Using Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft as a representative of these early texts, one finds the book is organized much like a work book. The chapters are organized into a combination of lessons and exercises. In Buckland’s work, it is apparent that he drew a great deal of material from folk practices that he found about him, just as Gerald Gardner and others before him in England had.

These folk practices, such as not walking under a ladder, were part of the common knowledge of earlier generations and the efforts of authors such as Buckland to place them into a religious context served to legitimize the remaining inclinations towards ‘superstition’ present for many people. Within academia, much of this work was met with great excitement. These modern Witchcraft authors were drawing from anthropological studies and similar academic endeavors to recreate ancient beliefs upon the basis of vestigial elements of practices that linger in the superstitions and folk lore of the region. When these authors presented apparent evidence supporting the theories they referenced in their works, this strengthened the legitimacy of their claims in the eye of the common man.

As legitimacy was acquired from the academic connection, the number of adherents to the modern Witchcraft movement began to rise significantly. From this rise came a development of communication between many of the different groups. As a result, the community of modern Witchcraft began to diversify. With a boost in the number of people looking at the issues and bringing their unique perspectives to the discussion, the distinguishing line between superstition and religion within modern Witchcraft began to blur to some extent.

Given the highly individualistic nature and cellular organization of modern Witchcraft, as well as the lack of any formal hierarchy structure, a great deal of the question determining the difference between superstition and religion became quite difficult to ascertain. It quickly became apparent in the period of time between the 1970s and the 1980s that the practices of a single Witch were of equal validity as those of an entire Tradition. From this point, there was found not only a great deal of diversification but also the resurgence of superstition within the context of modern Witchcraft in the United States.

Among the ways that superstition and religion can be distinguished is the way the rituals and associated behaviors are explained. Superstition often gives little, if any, explanation for why the action is carried out. Generally, a superstitious action is reactionary to a situation and has little connection to the event it is used as a reaction to or the intended result. With a religious act, the explanation may seem insubstantial but there is an explanation which can be placed into the context of the cosmology and theology of the given religion. Sometimes a superstitious act can be confused with a religious one due to ritualism. Ritualism is an over emphasis upon a series of actions and the elements that form a ritual rather then the objective of the ritual. Ritualism can be described as a subset of superstition or an intermediate point between these two concepts which are often upheld as opposites.

Ritualism and superstition within modern Witchcraft became increasingly prevalent due to a sudden influx of Seekers and Neophytes into the subculture. These individuals, eager to discuss and explore their newfound belief system reached out to each other thru the different means of communication available to them. Volumes of information were made available during the publishing boom that occurred at the same time the Internet started to become a cultural force. The sudden proliferation of information about Witchcraft resulted in an increased awareness of this movement by the culture at large, as seen by the rise of more mainstream references to Witchcraft, generally in a negative sense as proscribed by the old cultural stereotypes which continued to echo in the more urbane modern society that Witchcraft was reemerging into.

This created a degree of tension between the established practitioners and individuals who were seeking to learn about modern Witchcraft. As a result, many of the Witches who had sufficient information to adequately teach others in the more ‘traditional’ method of taking a Seeker into the coven and educating them personally refused to do so. Fears of legal reprisal and persecution forced these Witches to become extremely selective of whom they taught. Unfortunately, the volume of people seeking information greatly outstripped the number of teachers who were made available.

As a direct result of this, the Seekers were looking at the various published and publicly shared information available and attempting to educate themselves. At this point in time, ritualism became increasingly apparent. Ritualism was an influence upon the introductory phase of the development of modern Witchcraft in America but it was largely confined to the Neophyte Witches of the covens. With the population boom of Seekers and Neophytes, many failed to understand the language of modern Witchcraft and how elements of Witchcraft such as magic worked in the worldview of the belief system.

With the increased ability for Witches to network and communicate with each other, there came a rapid dissemination of poorly understood ideas and poorly communicated concepts. This ushered in a new development within the relationship between the religion of modern Witchcraft and the superstitions surrounding it. Superstition had additionally come to incorporate the flawed understandings of the basic concepts of modern Witchcraft. A fine example of this is the supposed animated aspects of a Tarot deck. A Tarot deck is a pack of 72 illustrated cards used for the card game Triumphs and also as a divination tool. Within the community of modern Witches and occultists, Tarot decks are primarily used as divination tools. Many of the second generation Witches explain the Tarot deck’s effectiveness as a divination tool in terms of the deck’s personality and moods, ascribing to the cards a semi-sentient quality. In concurrence with this have arisen many minor rituals to appease the semi-sentient pack of cards and assure a favorable result in working with them. Unfavorable or confusing readings are ascribed to a displeased Tarot deck rather then potential difficulties upon the part of the diviner.

The idea that inanimate objects can have human personality qualities is one that perpetuates fairly widely across the pagan community online. It is the conflating of animism with superstition that results in the premise that a pack of cards is angry with a person for not using them more frequently and this is why they are giving an unfavorable result. Animism, the premise that all things that exist are endowed with a spirit of some sort, is an ancient belief system that has seen some resurgence in the West. It is confused with superstition that says that the Tarot deck that is stored on a low shelf is acquiring unfavorable aspects versus the one stored on a higher shelf. As a result, the person with the Tarot deck will say that the deck's spirit is angered with them for its placement on the shelf when in actuality the reader is coming to the session with their internal compass for reading set to anticipate unfavorable results due to where it is sitting when they come to collect it for use.

Disentangling superstition and animism is part of the process of freeing modern pagan practitioners from the paradigm of fear that tends to plague them. While many religions are build upon a basis of fear, which feeds into superstition, growth within faith comes from resolving the fears and acquiring knowledge of the deeper truths of the religion in question. An enormous mystic tradition can be found in faiths  all around the world that seeks to divorce superstition from belief. When superstition is carefully excised from faith practices and the associated thought forms of a given religion, the practitioner moves into a deeper, more intimate and more deliberate relationship with their faith.

In part two, I will cover additional material regarding the interplay between superstition and modern pagan belief systems.


i I am using the term ‘man’ in the sense of referring to all of humanity in this sentence. I will be using this convention for the sake of clarity and convenience.

ii‘Colloquial Christianity’ is the vulgar form of Christianity as found in the mainstream culture of the United States. This secular form of Christianity is divorced of any theological teachings and holds only a few rudimentary vestiges of the religion it has bastardized. Among them being the celebration of the nativity of Jesus, the inclination against working on Sunday, and the pink and plastic amalgamation of the solemnity and celebratory aspects of Easter. Colloquial Christianity lacks any but the barest remote resemblance to the faith system it has grievously abused and repackaged into a commercial product. In light of this, however, one must recognize that colloquial Christianity is pervasive and often argued by many to be the state religion of the United States. It does have a dramatic impact upon the culture and deserves to be recognized as the culture shaping force it is.

iii The term ‘Tradition’ is used within the Witchcraft community and the Neo-pagan community as an alternative for the word ‘sect.’

Originally Published 2012 on Helium under the pen name Deb M.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

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Sometimes I struggle with proper self-discipline. This makes it hard for me to do things like write and keep up with my daily devotional activities. Then I become despondent and sad because I feel like I am failing at said things. At which point my self-discipline becomes hindered by an enormous sense of 'I'm doing it all wrong anyways. Why should I bother, I'll just screw it up.' It makes pretty much everything hard.

As we are moving into the colder, darker time of year, I find that my brain chemistry becomes one of my principle sources of frustration in making changes I need to do. I am working on adjusting the various things in my life that feel like they're out of control. My dear Beloved husband is helping me. This reassures me enormously. At the same time, the gods have started to step up and provide guidance as well. As a result, it is no longer just me pitting my will against my illness and the challenges of my disability.

I am deeply thankful for this. Things that most people would shrug off as odd coincidence, I recognize as the hands of the gods who love me at play in the situation. I don't know how things are going to go proceeding forward. I am somewhat nervous. Still, I will do my best to walk forward with my head held high and in confidence. I know that if I falter, I will have someone urging me forward and someone else taking hold of my trembling hand to pull me through the threshold.

I know that most of the stories about mystics point to them having this incredible sense of self discipline. They are painted as superhuman in these qualities. I am not. So, when someone else imposes some much needed structure, I do better in all places. It makes things bewildering, because I was taught as a child that I needed to discipline and master myself in all things. Still, my confusion is incidental and has little effect on my movement forward. It may slow me a pace, but I will still proceed.

And this is what is needed. To say I am grateful is an inaccurate way to phrase it but I simply can not think of the correct words for it. Please bear with me. There may be some changes coming over the next little while.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Witchcraft Basics - Wiccan history.

Ancient Myths & Modern Man
Unlike other religions around the world, Wicca* has a very 'open source' relationship with mythology and ancient wisdom. As a result, different Traditions** have developed relying upon various aspects of our collective cultural heritage. While the various Traditions based in familial practices do exist, it is the ones that draw upon ancient cultures that we are addressing today. Among the most common Traditions available for one to follow, Celtic Wicca is among the most popular.

We are going to examine the process of interpreting and applying ancient mythology to modern life within the context of this Tradition. The process that we use will be applicable for other Traditions based in different mythologies. It is vital to remember that the differences between modern and ancient man are quite large. Illness, for example, was often interpreted as the anger of the Gods or a supernatural attack of some sort. This does not indicate that ancient man's wisdom is no longer useful for modern man, only that it must first be considered in context. It is contextual analysis that takes a myth from a place of mere curiosity to its true role as an educational tool.

The value of myth to ancient man is equivalent to the value of education to modern man because myth was part of the method by which ancient man passed down knowledge. Carefully couched within language specific to the society that birthed the mythology that is to be examined, one can find deep theological wisdom and valuable insight into the human condition regardless of time or socio-economic status. It is unfortunate that the word myth has become synonymous with falsehood. Wicca, in many ways, seeks to rectify this within its various Traditions by attempting to decode the wisdom hidden within the myths referenced.

To understand Celtic mythology, one must first have a working understanding of ancient Celtic society. The ancient Celts were initially a nomadic people that came across the Russian Steppes prior to the advancement of the Huns. Some archaeologists and anthropologists theorize that the pressure of the Huns was what spurred the migration of the Celts into Europe. Given what can be determined of the economic pressures and the challenges of scarce resources within that region, it is a logical theory. When the Celts entered into the fertile regions of Europe, they intermarried with the native peoples and the previous wave of invaders, the Aryans.

The society of the ancient Celts was very different from the more familiar ancient Greeks or Romans. Women had greater freedoms compared to their contemporaries, frequently being found to hold their own property and voice in affairs of state. While their apparent equality was greater then that of the Greek or Roman women, they still were found to have curtailed freedoms compared to men. Ancient Celtic women, like the ancient Germanic women, did upon occasion ride into battle or on the hunt. It is believed that these women were the origins of the Greek myth of the Amazons.

Like their contemporaries, the ancient Celts did practice slavery. It is inconclusive if this was strictly upon the basis of spoils of war or if there was an active slave trade element to their society. It is presumed that then ancient Celts, like the ancient Germanic tribes, had four social classes, not including slaves. These social classes were priestly, royal, warrior, and serf. The Druids of the ancient Celts are something a mystery. Much of the knowledge we have of them comes from the biased perspectives of the Romans and the later Christian clergy. The little that we do know is that they had a special status that in many ways put them apart from society much like the priestly caste of early Hinduism. It is unclear if the division between the four classes were as 'hard' as the divisions of early Hinduism or not.

Among the ancient Celts, it is difficult to determine what were the chief deities followed. It is apparent, however, that the God of the Animals (known variously as Herne, Cerrunnos, or Kernunno) was a figure of prominent worship. Also, the Goddess of the Horse (most famously known as Epona) was a popular figure of worship. It stands to reason that these two gods are among the oldest of the Celtic pantheon. They are found in various guises among the ancient regions inhabited by the Celts and mentioned by several of their contemporaries (the Greeks and Romans). Various local deities, which are most likely remnants of earlier faith practices of the conquered peoples, pepper the Celtic pantheon, making it difficult to assemble a definitive picture of what the whole of ancient Celtic worship was like.

Equally challenging is the recreation of the various ritual practices of the ancient Celts. It is with some difficulty that the written language of Ogham is translated from the various stelae and other carved objects found within Celtic archaeological sites. The lack of something akin to the Rosetta Stone serves to hinder much of the efforts to translate this ancient language. What can be established is that the Celts, like their Germanic contemporaries, buried their dead with grave goods. Individuals who were of the higher social strata were often buried with cherished possessions, slain horses, and, at times, slain slaves. It is purpose, presumably, for these grave goods to serve the dead in some afterlife. There also appears to have been some evidence of ancestor/hero worship, much like the ancient Greeks and Etruscians.

A practice that has echoes in today's folk practices in places like Ireland is the veneration of holy wells and similar sites. The survival of practices like the veneration of holy wells suggests that these rituals were deeply entrenched in the cultural consciousness prior to the arrival of Christianity. It is unclear if these are practices that the Celts acquired when they intermarried with the native people of the regions or if they are practices that they brought with them. In equal obscurity is the origins of the now famous fire festivals of Imboleg, Beltaine, Lughnassad, and Samhain. There are practices, however, that are described by the contemporaries of the ancient Celts that serve to illuminate at least a portion of their practices. The practice of divination, ritual taboos, and the importance of oaths are described in some detail by both Roman and ancient Greek sources.

In the light of all these things, it becomes difficult to see how the myths of this mysterious people can be applied to the life of a person living over two thousand years later. This is where we look at the major details that we do know about ancient Celtic society.
  • Oaths are taken seriously and were upheld as a matter of honor.
  • Nature is venerated and rituals to invoke the blessing of natural spirits/local Gods were common.
  • Equality between the genders.
  • Courage in the face of battle or conflict is praised.
  • Ritual taboos were observed.
  • Curses and 'black' magic were potent weapons within a magically skilled Celt's hands (most frequently women or Druids).
It is this information that provides the basis from which we examine the mythology of the ancient Celts. If we were to be examining the ancient Greeks, we would need to establish the same essential facts to sketch a rough image of their cultural values. It is from these cultural values that the values reflected in the myths are established.
* Wicca is being used as a general term and is being considered interchangeable with witchcraft.

** Tradition is used to describe a sect of Wicca.

Originally Published via Helium in 2010 (approx.) This is part one of a small series of posts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Prayer in Words and Deed.

Prayer is generally understood to be of a single form. A verbal appeal to the Divine for aid or some sort of favor. It can move to also include other spiritual beings (I class saints among spiritual beings though they were at one time human.) and imploring these being to act as intermediaries on your behalf with the Divine. It is, in modern time, almost always a petitioner asking something from the Divine and they who represent the Divine. It is a curious thing that did not always be the case.

Many people object to the phrase that a person is 'working with the gods' because they see this as hubris on the part of the individual who is declaring they are in that type of relationship. The only form of relationship between humans and the Divine that is considered acceptable in Western society is that of the abasement of the petitioner and begging the Divine for favor. Much of this is couched in terms of how we must remember how little we are compared to the gods, how the gods exist beyond our capacity to understand, and that our very existence is an indulgence of some sort by the gods. It is something that does not promote the often claimed experience that the Divine loves us. Indeed, the very dynamic that this sets up is one of emotional and psychological abuse when we see it arise within human relationships.

It may seem that I am delving into this material when the title of this post is "prayer in words and deeds" and it is presumably the focus of my post this evening. Please humor me for just a moment longer and I will show you how all of this relates together. In antiquity, if we look at what record we have of the practices of prayer, we find that there are far more modes of prayer than verbal appeal. It ranges from the sacrifice of wealth to the dedication of buildings to the establishment of rites of celebration to the naming of children to the presentation of commissioned works in the Divine's honor. Could we possibly say that these practices are present in today's modern life of worship for the average person?

I don't think we can. These are not deeds that were done in secret. They were done in public view and the practices were accepted as part of how you were to engage in worship. You did not cry to the Divine with a list of demands. You approached them and engaged in a transaction of sorts, giving them something in order to receive something. Some people were clever and made their request, stating that the offering to be given was on contingent of the Divine answering their need. You approached the Divine with a sense of awe for the tremendous windfall of good fortune that came to you, offering some of that largess back to them as an expression of gratitude. You approached the Divine to demand that they cease harrying the ones you have an interest in, lest you refuse to give them something of substantial wealth. Or you approached them to ask it to cease and give that offering of substance as a bribe.

So many people look at the worship practices of our ancestors and they're regularly scandalized by it. Offering a live animal to a deity? What about what that animal means to the economy and the people? Human sacrifice? It must have been done out of pure savagery! I could go on, but these are two of the examples upheld the most with great horror and pearl clutching. If we take a moment to step back and view these thing in context, offering that live animal is no different than putting a good sized donation into the church's fund and offering something that your livelihood is tangled up in, if not dependent on. That can be money. It can be time. It can be your skills or services.

The bull that was sacrificed to the gods was not an exercise to inflict agony upon the creature to please the deity. (If you look into the history of animal sacrifice, this is actually the case on a really small subset of the incidents it has happened and even in those cases an effort is made to kill the animal in a humane fashion, or at least as humane as conditions will allow.) It is giving up something of substantial worth to the Divine, and for the support of their liasons upon this world. The bull that is sacrificed is not simply thrown on the midden heap. It is roasted and the meat served, in many cases, to the priesthood and the people present. All parts of it that are ritually permitted to be used are. Thus, the bull's hide may be tanned and fashioned into drums for rituals. The horns are turned into cups, bracelets, carved into items, or even musical horns. That which is ritually not to be handled by human hands is cast into the fire and turned wholly over to the gods.

Is there a cognate to this in our modern lives? Perhaps. I don't know enough about what people who have a lot in resources could do for this sort of thing. What I do know, however, that abasing yourself before Deity was not the only way to pray. Verbal prayer was not the only mode exercised by our ancestors. Why must we limit ourselves to formulaic prayers?Dedicating deeds to the Divine is a mode of prayer that has been done since antiquity. Composing new prayers in word and music (lest we forget the greatness of composers such as Hildegarde Von Bingen and others) is a valid mode of prayer with ancient roots as well.

Communicate with the Divine and the spiritual beings in your life. Do so by what ever means is most effective for you. In the end, that is what prayer is about. It is communication and companionship. The Divine's hand is always opened towards us. We need only reach out and grasp it.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Role of Myth and What It Does for Us.

Myth is a commonly misunderstood term. Just like the term 'fable,' the term myth has become associated with the concept of untruth and lies. This colloquial understanding fails to consider the role that myths serve in the continuation of cultural context elements, the instruction in social roles, and developing the personal concept of how one's life is supposed to unfurl. Just as culture is fluid and will change as time progresses, so too have myths. Their method of transmission has altered considerably. Also, the context where these stories are drawn from have shifted with the way the culture of the United States has developed over time.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines myth as a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon. Renowned mythologist, Joseph Campbell, explained that myths served to help people in the past to understand the major questions about life and existence. Many people who study myths consider them to serve, in some part, as a route by which the recipient can build their comprehension of how the fundamentals of life unfolds. Campbell referred to this as the Hero's Journey.

This journey has many different manifestations depending upon the cultural context the myth is from. Within the American context, the hero's journey consists of a disturbance of the known and familiar environs, movement into unknown territory, confrontation with oppositional forces, triumph over the opposition, return to the place of origin and celebration of victory. This mythic architecture is difficult to identify in things such as the folktales that are found in the different regions of the United States due to the very diverse subcultures within the country. However, when you consider the larger, national scope body of myths, we find this pattern emerges.

Consider for a moment the mythos surrounding World War II. The commonly assumed mythic elements about this most egregious period of world history is that the United States was most undoubtedly all 'good' in their conduct. The movies and propaganda from the era perpetuate the image that the hero of this period was a white male between the ages of 20 and 25 in excellent physical health of a heterosexual orientation. Additionally, the hero is understood to have come from a close knit community, where he is of a protestant Christian background and possessed of a middle class upbringing.

The initiation of the war serves as the event that disturbs the hero and prompts him to action. The hero then moves into the theater of war. There he engages in dramatic combat with the enemy. The hero then defeats the enemy and both enacts vengeance for the event that sparked the war (the Pearl Harbor bombing) and rescues the oppressed. The hero then returns home to life a life of domestic bliss as defined as the American dream. Part of the success of this myth is that a significant amount of the myth's materials are drawn from actual events. Another part of the success of this myth is the way that it encourages the American listener to think positively about themselves, easily envisioning themselves as the hero of the myth.

When compared to the grisly and complicated facts of the war and life after World War II, the myth is clearly found to be overly simplistic. This myth, however, serves several very important functions. The myth arose during a time of crisis and there was a necessity for unity within the culture. Myths act to transmit important information about cultural identity and taboos through a society. The myth in this example, tells the listener that Americans are 'good' people who take up arms in defense of themselves and to right the wrongs of the world. It also tells them that people who engage in such action will be rewarded for it. Thirdly, the myth reinforces that the cultural norms of the era are upheld, including the biases against people of non-Caucasian descent.

Historical myths served a similar function. When considering the myth of Odysseus, we find that similar information can be conveyed with respect to what ancient Grecian heros (and thereby men) were expected to be like. The first thing apparent is that the hero of this myth is of an upper class background. This tells the listener that Greek men of importance must be born into the high social strata. It leads one to think that the higher their social standing, the greater their importance.  Odysseus is clever and clearly educated, which transmits that high status is placed on intelligence. His continual effort to return to his wife and son tells the listener that a Greek man is expected to honor their familial and social obligations. Many other messages, some far more subtle like the abuse of Odysseus when he is disguised as a beggar, come together to present a complex picture of what the social landscape of ancient Greece was at the time that this myth was produced.

With the advent of more complex communication methods, the adaptation of myths is much faster. Traditionally, a myth would develop different nuances over the course of generations as it was passed down orally. With the development of writing, myth became less fluid and themes persisted longer. It is from this that many elements such as religious dogma developed. At the beginning of the 21st century, we see a return of the more fluid mythic structures. Memes are transmitted faster and myth cycles move through more rapid fluctuations because of this.

Unique to modern mythology is the 'urban legend.' Urban legends are the immediate forerunner of internet memes. With the rise of the internet, urban legends propagate faster then ever. They serve both the role of a fable and a myth. Like fables, most urban legends serve as cautionary tales. Some of the most virulent urban legends and the most persistent urban legends share a common theme with the larger body of mythos that they exist in.  The popular anti-vaccination urban legend takes the cautionary warning that one should not vaccinate their children because it is comprised of dangerous components.

When we consider this 'mini-myth', we find that several things are being transmitted to the recipient. First, the listener is told that vaccination is dangerous. This is then followed by the message that past knowledge is insufficient. Additionally, the subtle message is given that the government, in most manifestations of this urban legend, is seeking to harm the populace. This urban legend fits into a larger mythic scheme that exists within the United States at the moment. The larger mythic scheme tells the audience that the government exists to oppress the citizenry. It exhorts the listeners to rely on smaller social entities and take a more isolationist, independent world view.

Urban legends, when considered within the mythic structure they contribute to, suddenly become parts of a more complex picture. They are no longer laughable random nonsense that are to be mocked as the words of the ignorant (which is another mythic structure that subtly influences social interactions). Instead, urban legends are revealed to be the working components of the linguistic machinery that shapes how culture develops. Through careful study of the prevalent urban legends and mythic structures in play, one can build an accurate anthropological portrait of the era that is being examined and project how the next era will unfold.

This is where the real value of myth shines through. Myth is more then the lens by which one might examine a culture. Studying myth and the ways that it unfolds allows for one to develop a predictive model for future social developments. Myth tells the people of a given culture what social norms they are expected to conform to. It also reinforces existing cultural structures by providing an ideological basis that is connected to past events.  

This was originally published 2007 on Helium, under the pen name Deb M.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Matters of Conscience.

While my notes regarding the schedule of what to post for each day says that today is the day for recommendations, I felt the need to address something a bit different. As of the present moment, the USA is in the middle of a particularly ugly presidential election season. There are things happening in my country that evoke a deep sense of shame, anger, and horror. Police violence, insitutionalized abuse of the population, the ravaging of the natural resources for the sake of a quick buck, and the endless litany of small horrible deeds that people commit upon their neighbors is inescapeable in the media. Some people have taken it upon themselves to rail about how this is a sign of the end times and encourage divisiveness with an almost cultish glee.

In times like this, it is easy to get caught up in the tide of fear. It seems like no matter where you turn, something awful is happening and each time it strikes it is closer to your home. In just the last week, in my region, someone was murdered sitting out on their back deck in a sleepy small town. It is not a place where we are somewhat programmed (sadly) to expect violence, like in the inner city ghettos. If I sat down and made a casual effort to sift out all the bad news that is getting spread around, my time would be wholly consumed and I would be especially depressed and anxious by the end of it all. In the media, there is an axiom 'if it bleeds, it leads' that managed to rule how our news is presented to us. The bloodshed need not be literal, as the salacious and offensive remarks made by the Republican candidate in the past have cast a good deal of lurid offensiveness upon the news today. You could say that such things are like spiritual bloodshed or perhaps the injury to a sense of common decency. (It's a whole kettle of fish that I simply can not begin to unpackage right now and really isn't part of my main point here.)

We are faced with a question when horrible things make themselves apparent before us. That question is do we express approval or disapproval. This then leads into the question of how to do it. Many gentle souls within the Filianic/Déanic community express their disapproval of the horrid things that lurch into view by turning away from them. They quietly shun that which does not promote their beliefs and make a concerted effort to not participate in such things. This is a valid option and, for many people, it is the best option for them. It helps them avoid contentious situations and accidentally incurring some measure of the spiritual miasma that comes with such things. For these people, and many others, such as the Amish and the Mennonites, the quiet act of not participating and refraining from being immersed in the horror is what is best for their conscience.

For some people, they are moved to action. The water protectors at Standing Rock is perhaps the most ready example I can give you. They gather at their site. They peaceably protest with songs, prayers, and nonviolence. It is an act of engaging those who would continue the horrors of what the media keeps showing us and resisting them, pushing back against the concerted forces that care nothing for the welfare of the world The Black Lives Matter movement is another example of this. These people engage their opposition with their voices, deeds, and any other means they have accessible to them to fight against the harm that these others are causing. The water protectors at Standing Rock are perhaps the most peaceable end of the spectrum of response. At the other end, you have the people in Syria who are fighting to keep their families and neighbors safe from harm by way of active violence against those who are actively seeking to kill them.

Deciding to withdraw from the unacceptable things happening or to actively resist them, you are still taking a stand against them. It is important, however, to remember that choosing to ignore the unacceptable horrors in the world is not really a good option. Yes, there are a vast many things that we can not process and we can not actively do anything concrete about. I implore you, however, whatever choice you make, be deliberate. And when they who promote the horrible things try to say that they have your support, make your rejection of their ideology clear. Because choosing to ignore the problem and act like 'everything is fine' is giving silent assent to these awful things happening.

Act in accord with your conscience and what you know to be just, ethical, and most conducive to a world where there are less horrors happening. It is difficult. It may lead to some hard conversations, possible loss of associates, or some discomfort, if not worse. Do not bend in the face of this. The world needs you to act to help heal the great gaping injuries within it. Even working to maintain your own clear conscience and knowing that you have done your best helps. Because, at the very least, we should do no harm.

May Dea bless you. May the gods you follow and those of your ancestors bless you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Godphone: Lesson Three - Filtering & Isolating Thoughts.

After too long of a wait, I am returning to the Godphone lessons. Way back in January of this year, I posted lesson one. It discussed the necessity for inner silence and gave some suggestions for how to cultivate that type of state. Lesson two was posted in July and discussed how to determine the authenticity of what you impressions are showing you. I realized as I reviewed my notes for this series of divination posts, I skipped over something important. That was how to filter out distractions and unrelated thoughts, as well as how to isolate the thoughts that focus upon what your divination session is attempting to accomplish.

Most any exercises you encounter regarding meditation encourage the practitioner to be mindful of their thoughts but not consumed by them. This is fairly close to what the ideal divination session that is based in mental discipline strives to achieve. As I mentioned back in lesson one, the 'catch and release' practice of thought tracking is a helpful way to monitor what passes through your mind during a divination session. The first step in any of the exercises is to become aware of your internal monologue. This internal monologue is not necessarily you speaking to yourself. It can range from thoughts framed as sentences to images to emotional impressions or physical sensation. The itch on the nose that distracts me from my meditating is as much a part of my internal monologue as the question if I fed my fish this morning.

When you become aware of the thoughts that run through your mind as you attempt to become quiet and listen closely, it can be overwhelming and difficult to pick out what is part of your internal communication with yourself and what is not. This is where filtering your thoughts becomes crucial. Over the course of multiple meditation sessions, learn to identify what types of thoughts pass through your mind. As they arise, identify them and assign them to their correct category. The itchy nose becomes a passing body awareness and is filed in the same mental box as your awareness of your clothes. The worries about if the bills got paid or the pets have been fed go into the anxiety box, for myself that is it may be different for you. Over time, you will find that as a thought presents itself, you can identify and mentally set it aside for later faster. This frees up our mental focus so that you can sift through these thoughts until you find the one that fits what you need.

Isolating a thought is not complicated. It is actually the next logical step after filtering your thoughts. once some skill has been acquired at filtering your thoughts, you can move from examining each thought alone to looking at the larger category they fit into. When you seek to isolate a category, your focus moves to disregarding the thoughts that are not part of what you are contemplating. If you are engaged in simple meditation with a focus, your isolating the thoughts pertaining to the focus and setting aside the others. In the case of divination via mental exercise, your focus is on communication with deities, the dead, or other spiritual entities. Godphone is focusing exclusively upon deities.

The thoughts that are attached to deities will be intrinsically different from your running inner monologue. It may be as though it is a voice is quietly speaking to you or that you have sensations that are unusual compared to the base line of your inner monologue. For some people, they will have impressions of a figure doing things. Others will be shown something like events happening. And yet other people will simply have strong emotional pulls towards something. In the case of someone having impressions that are of someone speaking to them or otherwise engaging their five senses, it is something happening within the mind's eye. There is, generally, no instances of a person appearing to the psychic as though they were physically present and visible to the eye.

The instances where deities, the dead, and other spiritual beings appear to the eye like any other person physically present are rare. There are more frequently signs given in the physical sense that only make sense in the context of the conversation being had with the spiritual being in question. Thus, a devotee of Freyja may be seeking reassurance that they are engaged in something that she approves of. While they may have the impression of Freyja smiling with approval, they're not likely to see a physical manifestation of her standing before them. Instead, it may be finding a falcon's feather laying on the sidewalk when the step out their front door in the morning.

With all divination, seeking out confirmation of what is learned is appropriate. Even as your discernment improves with experience, it is still good to regularly make sure that what you are perceiving is accurate.

Prayer Beads: Chaplet of the Janyati (Part 2)

In my last post, I talked a bit about the origins of this chaplet. I also pointed out the similarities between the chaplet and the rosary. The structure of the chaplet is smaller than that of a rosary. Where the five decade rosary most frequently used has sixty beads, the chaplet has thirty three. They are used in a similar fashion. Many of the prayers used for the rosary can be used for the chaplet.

The most basic prayers are:
  • Statement of faith (some call this the creed)
  • Glory to Dea
  • The Daughter Prayer
  • Our Mother
  • Hail Marya
  • Hail Holy Queen
The orthodox Filianic prayers can be found at A Chapel of Our Mother God.

My rendition of these prayers can be found starting on page 127 of my book Rose Petals: A Filianic Psalter. I will also present them below if you don't have a copy on hand or easily accessible to you. They are recited in a specific order that leads the person who is praying into a mild state of entrancement which facilitates a sense of connection with Dea and aids in our efforts to communicate with her. Words flow less from the head and more from the heart at this point.

When one is in the midst of learning to pray the rosary, it is good not to place expectations for high and mighty things to happen. In the beginnings of engaging in this form of discipline, it is good to allow yourself to make mistakes and focus upon learning the simple ritual of this style of prayer. As you move from being able to recite the prayers by rote and then find yourself able to engage in contemplation, then you may be able to start the practice of meditating upon various sacred mysteries. Until you have met these two milestones, it is sufficient that you put in an honest effort to learn the prayers and spend time mindfully in Dea's presence.

The first step in saying the rosary prayers or the chaplet using these basic prayers is to take the medallion in hand and declare your statement of faith. After this, you move to the next bead and recite the Glory to Dea and the Our Mother. If you are using a standard five decade rosary, there are three beads next. Upon these beads, recite the Hail Marya. After these three beads, there is the first Our Mother bead for the first decade. Here, you recite the Our Mother and declare the holy mystery you are meditating upon. With the chaplet, after the medallion (also known as the terminal) there is the single inviatory bead. Upon this bead, you would recite the Glory to Dea, the Our Mother, and Hail Marya.

The first Our Mother bead of the first group encountered, we then proceed to the Hail Marya beads. (On a Catholic Christian rosary, the Our Mother beads are known as the Paternoster beads and the Hail Marya beads as the Ave beads. Because the Paternoster beads derive their name from the Our Father prayer that is said upon them and the Ave beads derive their name from the Hail Mary prayers said upon them, which in Latin is Ave Maria.) For each of the ten beads in the decade, a Hail Marya is recited. On the chaplet, it would be upon each of the seven beads in the 'week.' When reaching the conclusion of the first grouping of beads, it is time to recite the Glory to Dea and the Daughter prayer. In many cases, these prayers are said holding the thread in the space between the Hail Marya beads and the Our Mother beads.

The next Mother bead starts the process of stating the Our Mother and then declare what mystery you are meditating on, if any. Proceed through the Hail beads in the same fashion as done for the first group. When you reach the end of the final group, you will recite the Glory to Dea and the Daughter prayer before moving to the medallion. On the medallion, you would pray the closing prayer. In most cases, if you are simply praying the basic rosary (be it upon the five decade rosary or the four week chaplet), that prayer would be Hail Holy Queen.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*    The Prayers *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

  1. Statement of Faith
    I believe in Dea; the Mother Marya, the Daughter Anna, and Deam Mysterium, three who are One and have no equal. I believe that my soul was create in the beginning and that I turned from grace[1]. I believe that the virgin Daughter, born of the virgin Mother, lived, suffered unto death, and rose again by virtue of Her Mother's love. I believe that the Daughter shall save all souls and lead them into Heaven. I believe in Dea.

  2. Glory to Dea
    Glory to the Mother, the Daughter, and Deam Mysterium, three who are one. Glory be upon You, as it was in the beginning and shall be at the end of all worlds.

  3. Daughter Prayer
    Oh My Lady, forgive us our errors, rescue us from the harsh winds of werde. Lead all souls into Heaven, especially those in most need of Your mercy.

  4. Our Mother
    Our Mother, who is in Heaven, holy is Your name. Your realm come. Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our errors as we forgive those who err against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

  5. Hail Marya
    Hail Marya, full of grace, blessed are You and blessed is your holy Daughter Anna. Holy Marya, Mother-God, stay with us now and at the hour of our death.

  6. Hail Holy Queen
    Hail Holy Queen, Lady of Mercy. We call to You, poor lost children of Earth. To You we send our weeping, sighs, and laments in this world. Turn, most gracious Lady, Your eyes of mercy towards us and after our exile, show us into the garden of Your Mother's love. Most sweet, clement, and loving Anna, pray for us and make us worth of Your redemption.

  7. Closing Prayer
    Oh Marya, whose virgin Daughter has by her life, death, and resurrection delivered us from eternal death, grant us, we beg, that by meditating upon the mysteries of the most holy rosary that we may imitate what they contain nad obtain that which they promise through Anna, our Lady.
1. The turning from grace is a complex thing. In some Filianic/Déanic communities, it is something akin to the Christian doctrine of original sin. In others, it is an act in search of wisdom and greater knowledge. I ascribe to the second position. It is not a shameful thing as much as an act undertaken to learn more that had unforseen consequences. Errors made in ignorance and upon mistaken information are not shameful, which the turning from grace could be considered to be one. The exile that is referenced in many prayers to the Daughter is not one imposed by Dea but self-imposed by the soul that turned from grace.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pushing through.

Please forgive me if this comes off as rough. It has been quite a while since I have done one of these. I am also not feeling completely well.

Here is today's video.

I hope all of you are well and finding your own reasons to push through that wall and make things happen.

Keep that shield up and push forward. You'll grind that foe under your heel yet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Prayer Beads: Chaplet of the Janyati (part 1)

I have written a few previous posts about the Filianic/Déanic rosary. This is patterned after the Catholic rosary. Most practitioners pray the Filianic/Déanic rosary and meditate up on the Five Mysteries of the faith. From what I can tell, I appear to be the only one who also will pray an expanded version of this, focusing upon fifteen elements that comprise these Mysteries. This, however, is not the only version of prayer beads available to people who wish to pray in a fashion that encourages focus upon Dea.

In the latter portion of the 20th century, another form of rosary was developed in the West. The Anglican chaplet (also known as the Anglican prayer beads or the Anglican rosary) came into practice in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. It is a modification of the Catholic rosary and the Orthodox Christian prayer rope, wherein thirty three beads are divided up into five major groups. The first group is the terminal (which is a cross most often for the Anglican chaplet) and the inviatory bead. Upon these two beads, the opening prayers are recited. The next division encounter is the first cruciform bead and the first week, a group of seven beads. There are three other weeks with a cruciform bead dividing each group. The fourth week ends where it meets the first cruciform bead.

This style of prayer beads has become relatively popular through out the Protestant Christian communities that are inclined towards this style of worship. Where the Catholic rosary focuses upon the mysteries associated with the events of the life of Jesus and his mother, the Anglican chaplet is used as a tool for counting prayers. There has, not yet, arisen a liturgical structure to focus contemplation and meditation beyond this point. Individual focus whilst engaged in this exercise varies widely.

The Anglican chaplet style beads is also well suited for a devotee of Dea's use. The division of the seven beads in each 'week' of the chaplet lends itself naturally for contemplation of the seven Janyati. The cruciform beads not only connect to the Fora but also to the four regular seasons of the Filianic/Déanic calendar. The fifth season, Moura, can be counted on the inviatory bead or upon the first cruciform bead when it is reached again after the fourth week of beads is counted.

The most basic prayers of devotion1 for this are identical to those of the rosary. On the terminal bead, for example, a declaration of one's creed would be made, followed by a recitation of the Our Mother prayer and the Gloria prayer. The cruciform beads would have similar prayers to the beads that divide the decades on the rosary. The week beads would have similar prayers to those said on the individual beads of each decade. Upon the conclusion of the final week, the prayers said at the conclusion of the rosary could be said as a way to finish the prayer session.

1. The rosary prayers of Filianism/Déanism do have some variants between each sect. I will be posting my interpretation of the major prayers in another post soon. If you examine the prayers presented by A Chapel of Our Mother God, you will see the most basic format used.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Such a long week.

Hello Everyone,

It has been a long and tiring week for me this week. I had a migraine that just wouldn't go away for the last few days. It made pretty much everything challenging. I have come away from the experience with the deepest sympathy for the people who live with that level of pain daily. I am to no end of impressed with how you folks keep going when you deal with this or worse on a daily basis. It takes a level of fortitude that I am in awe of.

The biggest hurdle to getting things happening here on this blog has been finding writing time. I have spent a good amount of time this week trying to get the household straightened up and tidy. My kitchen is finally back at a point where I feel it is presentable for company. The living room is almost there, with the exception of a large laundry hamper full of clean kids clothes waiting to be folded and put away. The boy's room, however, is in need of some attention. We're going to attempt to coach the boys through picking everything up on their own. I'm hoping this wont result in a great deal of frustration and stress, but expecting that by the end of it all I will be ready for them to go back to school and get out of my hair for several hours.

Putting aside all the mundane things in life that have gotten in the way of my posting here, I am left aghast and speechless in the face of the recurring violence in the news. More specifically, the seemingly endless cascade of reports of people who are being killed by law enforcement. It is something that angers me on a fundamental level and I struggle to find the words to express that. It is something that horrifies me and fills me with profound grief. I pray that this parade of horrors ends but it seems that every day I wake to find something new in the news about it.

I find myself at a loss for what to say. I feel that my words here are paltry and pointless in the face of such casual, routine evil. It has created something of a crisis of faith. I am not sure how to proceed here. Thus, I let posting here slip aside as I focus upon the small daily details of my life. I wish to correct this, but I do not know where to begin. Perhaps the gods shall smile upon me and provide some sort of guidance.

Please forgive my silence.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Gift of Tears.

One of my sources of inspiration are the accounts of medieval European lay piety. There are so many little myths of local saints (frequently unrecognized by the Catholic Church, but still adored by the people in that region) that it is really difficult to begin to organize them. In the 13th Century CE[1], there was a sharp uptick in lay devotions and mysticism within Christianity. A cursory glance over the materials produced from that era and the stories that go back to this era, one finds that women were a very large part of this movement. One also finds that an enormous amount of this body of work focuses upon the establishment of a relationship between the individual and the divine.

Now, some may wonder what this has to do with what I titled this evening's post. Looking at the accounts of Margery Kempe, an English mystic who is honored within the Anglican faith but not in Catholicism (though she was a devout Catholic), there is much written of her frequent weeping for the mercy of her God and begging for his forgiveness of herself and others. This is not something that is only written within her autobiographical writings. It is also recorded to have been evident in female mystics in continental Europe during the era. This weeping was something called the 'gift of tears' by authors of that period.

It is not something spoken of today. It is actually forgotten for the most part in the accounts of mystic experiences and viewed with similar disdain as was done by the more cynical of Margery Kempe's contemporaries. The idea that one could be moved to tears by the force of spiritual experiences is alien to most people today. The idea of mysticism as something other than a blissful experience is something often swept aside by many people who write about it today. (I'm looking squarely at you, David Wolfe.)

Some people within the more ecstatic oriented Christian faiths will admit to being moved to tears, but it is always described as being something done to them by the Holy Spirit. It is something that is viewed as external and imposed upon them. Which, considering the emphasis that sects such as the Pentecostals place upon one's submission to their God's will, is not really much of a surprise. The pagan community treats the gift of tears (which does happen within the mystics of pretty much any faith you can find and those which are emerging) as a shameful secret. It is viewed as some sort of weakness and a sign of hysterics or some kind of mental illness. (There are also vast swaths of the pagan community that views mysticism as identical to mental illness as well, but that is a topic for another day.)

The gift of tears is not something that is strictly motivated by the desire for divine forgiveness and mercy, though it is one of the reasons why a mystic may be moved to tears. It also comes with the emotions of joy, grief, frustration, and pretty much every aspect of how we are moved to tears elsewhere in our lives. The gift of tears is a bit different from that which arises due to the more 'mundane' elements of our lives. Where the stressors of our daily lives can bring us to tears, the gift of tears is something that comes with a very profound sense of the presence of the divine in our lives at the time it happens.

Like Margery Kempe, the mystic who is blessed with the gift of tears has their awareness overwhelmed by the divine. They are moved to weep by the sheer force of the gods. It is an ecstatic experience, though the ecstasy is not necessarily something blissful. It is, also, a very difficult thing to bear. Because, like Margery Kempe, the mystic who bears the gift of tears finds themselves alienated by their peers because it is so vastly different from what others experience and they will be in a position where their piety is challenged and possible accusations of mental illness or seeking dramatic attention are thrown about.

I can not claim that I have this gift. I have known people, however, who do have it. They are not the typical 'cry at the drop of a hat' people, and some of them never have teared up during a movie. Still, when they feel the presence of the divine, it is something that moves them so profoundly that they will weep. They are also people who have an awe inspiring depth of faith and adoration for their gods. When the thought of what their gods have endured and what they do for the world arises, these people do get a bit misty eyed because they can not help the force of emotion that arises from those thoughts.

We should all seek to attempt to emulate that level of faith and empathy for the divine. The heart road that is ruled by Sai Sushuri is a mystic path within Filianism (and related faiths) where the practitoner is urged to feel such love and compassion towards the divine and the world. The gift of tears, when viewed from this context, is perhaps one of the gentlest ways that the divine may lay their hand upon us. To be so overwhelmed by love that one has tears streaming down their face can be a profoundly beautiful experience for the person moved to tears and those witnessing them, think of the mother who weeps when her child is married and they're so filled with love and happiness for their child that they can not help it.

Tears for the sake of faith are not a sign of illness or weakness. They are a sign of strength in said faith and tenderness of the heart. Embrace them when they come to you, for I suspect that everyone at some point in their life will have this blessing come upon them. And recognize that they are truly a gift because they come with the full force of the divine's presence and blessing.

19. Let flow your tears, My children, for they are the beginning of joy. 20. For every tear of true repentance shall dissolve away a thorn, and it shall be as though it had not been.

The Temple of the Heart, The Gospel of Our Mother God[2]


1. CE designates Common Era, this is what I use in place of Anno Domni (AD).
2. This can be found online at the following link: