Monday, November 28, 2011

My humble beginning

A dear friend recently suggested that if I wanted to let my blog readers really understand me, I should write out how my life brought me to the Craft.  Some of the story puts certain people in a fairly negative light, so instead what I’ll write about this time is the night… well, keep reading.  Best to narrate than describe, in this case..

It was October, 1979 and I was 14 years old.  The fog had come in thick and heavy, and the moon was full.  We had this great back yard with one end a circle of maple trees that hadn’t quite lost their leaves, and part of the back yard was densely populated with redwood trees.  I heard and felt an odd hum, almost like someone singing below the threshold of my hearing, so I put on a sweater and went out back, down the steps and onto the lawn.

The fog was just above my knees, but the stars were clear.  We lived in the middle of suburbia, but it was completely silent that night.  The moon was so bright it was almost shimmering silver/blue/white in the sky, and it felt electric on my skin.

I was standing in the circle of trees in the fog, staring up at the moon and without knowing why, I lowered my right hand into the fog and raised my left hand up to the moon and said “For this lifetime, I’m yours”.  The fog swirled up my arm and the moon rushed down my hand as I inhaled, and both sets of energy rushed into my lungs and felt like they exploded out of my chest, and I fell over backwards onto the grass, dizzy.

I honestly can’t tell you what my dreams were like for the next week, but I woke up both tired and exhilarated from them.  It wasn’t too long after that when I started accidentally hearing what people were thinking before they said it, and the wind started answering me when I asked it to back off walking home from school, or asked the rain to stop because I didn’t have an umbrella.  High school, after that, was the usual torture for a shy kid but it was also one of the more magical periods of my life.

And that’s how I got started with magic, it took me another 4 years to find paganism and Wicca  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Magic of Thanksgiving

I don’t think I’ve ever talked with my pagan friends about the magic of Thanksgiving before, and since I’m waiting for the post-pie sugar buzz to wear off so I can go to bed, I figured now is the perfect time.

Thanksgiving is one of the most interesting secular holidays.. It’s full of political opinions about the pilgrims and Native Americans, and lots of my more liberal friends are angry on behalf of the Native American folks who were robbed of their land, culture, and lives.

But it’s also a time for football, where people are usually drinking and having fun while watching their favored team either win or get trounced, with all of the high emotions around whichever way it’s going.

And let’s not forget that Thanksgiving is also a time where lots of friends and families are getting together, having a good time and quietly rejoicing in the company, the food, the traditions, etc.  I know some families also get together and fight, it’s sort of the other side of the coin I suppose.

A small percentage of people are camping out at stores, in the hopes of getting a special deal for Black Friday and buy all of their holiday gifts for the least amount of money.  Some of them have been camping for days, waiting in line to be first/second in the store.  (Just think of all the energy that goes into this one thing, and compare it to ritual preparation.)

Many people are giving thanks for the joys in their lives, or sometimes the lack of bad things in their life, such as "I'm thankful I'm not homeless".  A small percentage of people are volunteering at soup kitchens and feeding homeless and hungry people who have nowhere else to go.
A lot of the "giving of thanks" that goes on this time of year is focused on love and the people we're happy to have in our lives.  Some people are thanking specific deity, some are just "being thankful" without invoking any gods at all.

But all of those scenarios I’ve described amount to one thing – emotional energy.  The seasons are changing where I live, the cooler weather has arrived and the trees are making a heroic farewell with bright red, soft gold, and showering the streets with the leaves that fall.  Emotional energy, changes in nature – all of which a witch can tap into.  We can choose from the vast smorgasbord of energy which wavelength of the energy to immerse ourselves in, and channel it into whatever works best for us.

I’m choosing to focus on the quiet joy of families giving thanks to no specific deity, to amplify and send out in waves of harmony as far as they’ll reach.  Which energy are you going to choose to align yourself with?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Snooze, Lose, do something New

Ah, Procrastination..

I’ve been calling my particular brand of Wicca a “Greenwood Tradition” for about 15 years, and I haven’t been writing down what makes it different than standard British Traditional Wicca.  I did a quick Google search 10 years ago, and didn't find anyone else using it, so I kept calling what I do Greenwood.

Now, I’m ready to start the writing project and go public with it.  The catch?  Someone in Canada is already using the name for their tradition, and has 5 covens in the tradition.  I'm certainly not going to pitch a fit about it, they took a good idea and ran with it.  I didn't act on it, and so someone else created a tradition with the same name that appears to be going quite well for them.

So, having learned that lesson and thought about what to rename what I do, I have now updated my Witchvox profile and am posting here for the first time the beginning of the Riverwood tradition of Wicca.

The city I live in has 2 rivers running through it, and a lot of trees, so I honor the spirits of my hometown in the name.  Rivers bend and flow, with calm places and rapids - much like life.  And trees grow, change to adapt to their surroundings, survive lightning strikes, and remain beautiful.

The Riverwood tradition is an evolving thing, changing to adapt to the needs of the 21st century witch, and dropping from the practice things that no longer work.  The focus will be on celebrating the cycle of life, helping the members of the tradition grow and heal from past experiences, and live in harmony with the elemental energies around us.

Blessed Be!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weather magic myths

I was talking recently with a new friend and made an off-hand comment about stopping the rain long enough to get somewhere dry, when she gently chastised me for even considering it, quoting the line about "not knowing what it may cause elsewhere".

That idea, believe it or not, comes from an old episode of I Dream of Jeannie.  I haven't found any reference predating the show to anyone believing it's true, but that's not the whole basis of my belief that it's just bunkum.

I live in California, on the west coast of the United States.  In the midwest, there are tornadoes and hail storms that we don't have here.  On the east coast, there are hurricanes that we don't see here.  I can have a perfectly sunny day while on the east coast they have 90mph winds with driving rain and homes being ripped apart and floating away.  Their weather doesn't affect my weather patterns.

So, if natural weather patterns on the east coast or in the Sahara Desert have no impact on my weather here, why would anyone expect any weather magic I do to affect my local environment to have a greater impact than Nature herself?  It's not logical, and the facts don't back up the myth.

I have about a 70-80% success rate with the weather magic I've done over the years, and it's stayed pretty consistent.  But I don't kid myself - if Mother Nature decides we're going to have a certain type of weather, and she's insistent about it then there's nothing I can do to change it.  I'm humble enough to know my limits!

I don't expect everyone to believe me, I think some people need external, artificial limits to their belief structures.  But let go of the fear about it for goddess' sake, I'm not going to single-wandedly bring about Global Warming or the next Ice Age.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On being a misfit Pagan

Misfits, by definition, don't fit in.  That's not an unusual thing in the pagan community, most of us are misfits in one form or another.  It's our acceptance of our differences that usually brings us together in harmony, each singing a different note in the song.

But in terms of religious background and worldview - I totally don't fit.  I know there are others like me, I just don't really know that many.

The biggest difference between me and a lot of pagans?  I was never Christian.  Or Jewish, or Catholic, or any other form of organized religion.  Wicca is my first and only religion.  So I didn't grow up praying, quoting the Bible, or saying grace at the dinner table.  The closest to "religious" my family got, was the annual tradition of the Family Christmas Eve, where we'd have a potluck and sing Christmas Carols with as many of us as could make it.  We had a great time, and everyone got along, no one fought or got drunk and obnoxious.  It was loving, and full of laughter, and you went home with your heart full of light.

So, unlike a lot of pagans - I don't hate organized religion.  I think probably it's because I didn't leave it, so I had no previous feelings about it perhaps?  But a lot of things about organized religion do confuse me because of my lack of personal experience with it.

When I was searching for a spiritual "home", I already knew I was gay.  I hadn't quite admitted it yet, but I knew.  And I already knew I had some innate psychic gifts and had been exploring them.  Every religious person I spoke to told me that I needed to be "saved" somehow, and that gays were children of the devil, and that anyone who had any vestige of psychic ability was cavorting with demons - Christian, Catholic, Mormon - they all sang the same song.  I stopped looking at churches after they told me that, and then discovered Wicca in 1984 when my family already knew I was gay and still loved me.

In Wicca, and the greater pagan community, what I found was laughter at life's little ironies, acceptance of a wide variety of people, and lots of hugs.  People who were viewed as spiritual leaders in the community were warm and friendly, and not at all impressed with themselves - making sure to remind people that they were human with flaws just like anyone else.  And at last, I met someone who told me that my gifts were perfectly normal, and taught me how to focus and keep from dropping into someone's head unexpectedly, and to defend myself from the intensity of feeling someone else's emotions.

Of course, we have our share of colorful characters in the pagan community.  I think that's just a normal part of the human experience.  Some churches have folks who are over-zealous and wildly passionate about their faith, and we have pagans who clank with jewelry when they walk around in their tie-dyed caftans.  Different expressions of the same traits, I think.  In the gay community we have drag queens and leather daddies, it's all just different forms of self-expression through costuming, no matter what the environment.

Personally, I have tattoos and longish hair.  I don't wear jewelry anymore, and I don't anoint myself with patchouli oil.  I'm a "blender" - I can pass in public for "average" and not really stand out in a crowd, and that's comfortable for me.  So I guess I fit in with all the other misfits of the world, just quietly going along and living my life.

In the long run, none of it really matters as long as we're happy, healthy, and laughing - right?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Question of Morality

Recently, I was told that good witches don’t curse or hex, and then the speaker started spouting the “Harm None” creed that so many Wiccans swear by.  And in the next breath, telling me my karma was going to get me if I did.

For my thoughts on karma, let me point you to a previous post so I don’t repeat myself:

So, karma aside, let’s explore morality for a bit.

In past dealings with the eclectic pagan community, people have stood up very righteously and criticized me for healing someone who was in a coma, trying to help their body repair itself so they’d recover – because I didn’t have “permission” to work magic on their behalf, so I was obviously a “black witch”.  Using a sleep spell on someone to get out of a difficult situation where they were pointing a gun at me was also met with criticism.  Both spells, by the way, worked.  My friend recovered, and the gunman got dizzy and passed out briefly enough for me to get away, thanks to my “evil magic”.  Apparently I was supposed to let the gunman do what he wanted, and let my friend die without having tried to help him.  He might have recovered on his own, maybe my spell didn’t change anything at all.  But isn’t trying the important part?

I personally detest when people categorize magic as “black” or “white”.  Frankly, it encourages racist thinking since it makes “black” the “bad” color.  Black is a perfectly fine color, whether it’s clothes, skin, or the night sky on a tall mountain, dappled with stars.  Magic is just a force, as neutral as a knife, which can be used for cooking, curing, or killing.  It’s all up to the intent of the wielder.

And yes Wanda Fae, sometimes it’s OK to curse.  At one time in my life, I didn’t think so.  Here’s what changed my mind...

Once upon a time, I was living in an apartment with a roommate.  One July evening in the middle of the week, about 1am we were awakened to yelling and then a loud crashing noise.  His bedroom was closer to the front door than mine, so he went out there while I grabbed the phone.  I heard him yell “Hey!” and then I heard the intruders yell “Where’s the money?”, followed by noises of flesh striking flesh.  I was on the phone with the police, while my other hand held my ritual sword, shaking.  I heard loud crashing noises and I told the dispatcher that they were hurting my roommate and I was going out there, when I heard someone coming down the hall.  I was prepared to shove the point of my sword through someone’s stomach.  Happily, it was my roommate and he was ok – they’d only shoved his bare chest with the palms of their hands, that’s what the noise was.  He wasn’t even bruised, thankfully.

After we assessed the damage, inventoried what was missing, the police had come and gone, and we’d shoved the couch in front of the shattered front door to hold it closed while we waited for the apartment maintenance folks to repair the door and change the locks, we were talking about how glad we were no one was hurt, and that we really needed to be more diligent about the warding on the apartment.  I still wasn’t ready to hex, at that point.

The following day, I saw someone walking around the apartment looking suspicious, so I committed his face to memory.  A few minutes later (I was on the phone with the credit card company canceling and ordering new cards, since they’d gotten my wallet) someone tried a key in the lock and was having trouble.  I looked through the peep hole, and saw the suspicious looking guy with my keys in his hand, trying the door.  I kind of lost it.  I told the person on the phone I had to hang up and call 9-1-1 because the robbers were back, then unlocked and opened the door to see him running away.  When I realized I wasn’t going to be able to catch him and pound his face into the sidewalk like I wanted to, I yelled “DIE!” at him and waited for the cops to show up.  And immediately cast a hex off the top of my head so that he’d be caught, arrested, and convicted.

A week later, I was out of town at a training class, and the power in the complex went out the night before I was due home.  When I got home, there were police everywhere, so I waited for my roommate to get home from work – he had no idea what had happened.  The day after that, I went and talked to the people in the management office to get the scoop.  The robbers had gone into someone else’s apartment during the blackout, robbed her, roughed her up, and she was found dead the next day.  She was 84 years old, a former teacher, and was volunteering at the elementary school down the street.

Ever since her death, I freely encourage people to hex robbers, rapists, highway snipers, and the like.  Get them caught, make their weapons misfire to hurt them, and get them away from innocent victims like that poor lady who died because someone thought it was easier to steal and injure than to get a job like the rest of us.  Those robbers went to jail for a loooong time, especially after I positively identified the one guy in a police photo lineup, and then again on the witness stand in the courtroom.

This doesn’t mean I go around cursing willy-nilly, because I’m not that kind of person.  I have to have a good reason to hex.  But to protect innocent people, the bad guys have to be stopped.  I don’t have super powers, I can’t fly around the city bouncing bullets off my chest, reading the minds of the wicked and bringing them to justice.  But I can sure as heck cast spells that work.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Your “Personal Brand “ is a Tulpa is a Thoughtform

I was doing some random Internet-hopping today, and ran across an article that talked about ones “Personal Brand” and how important it was to nurture.  Never having heard the term, I went looking it up because I was curious.  What struck me about it was the similarity to a tulpa, or thoughtform as we define them in our various magical communities.

If you look up personal branding (you can start here, you’ll see that it’s the public image people associate with you.  It’s usually associated with the reputation, appearance, impressions, and virtual identity that people associate with your name – as opposed to your real, private self.  The focus I was reading about (here: was on appearance, and the author said about people with good personal brands “Their personal brand is such that their intention and purpose to convey the best version of who they are is always present -- no matter what. This entails self-discipline, sacrifice, and a high level of emotional maturity and empathy.   So it’s conveying an image – like an illusion.

I don’t know about you, but in my magical training I was taught how to create thoughtforms and put them to work for me, imbuing them with characteristics and personality as appropriate, as well as how to maintain them, or “feed” them if you will.

So doesn’t it stand to reason that we as witches ought to be *really* good at this Personal Branding stuff?  Heck, all it takes to feed is dressing your best and being pleasant?  Yeah, I can do that.  It’s a lot easier than incense and offerings of food or some libation!  Charging a stone you can carry in your pocket would add to it, or a necklace you can wear under your clothes… heck, even a bright shiny copper penny you can put in your shoe would work, if you put the right spell on it.  Something simple you can say, like:

“Lord and Lady let them see the best me that there is to be.
 Let all whom I encounter stay moved by charm and grace today.
And for problems which arise let help be found before my eyes.”

Or something along those lines, whatever works for you and your path.

We’re magical practitioners, if the non-magical can use charm and a snappy wardrobe to fake people out and impress, why can’t we do the same thing and add magic to the mix and be more successful?  Is there really anything so terrible about having enough money to pay the bills, a successful career that makes us happy, or a day made more pleasant because people find us charming and helpful?  Personally, I don’t see a thing wrong with it.  It’s not mind control, it’s not manipulation, it’s not deceit – any more than putting on a really nice outfit and styling your hair or putting on makeup is deceitful.  It’s just about putting your best foot forward on an energetic level where people might feel it.

So many in our communities are struggling with money, or in jobs they can’t stand that we ought to start collectively putting our heads together on ways to fix it.  If you don’t hate your job, but aren’t getting promoted or recognized for your work, maybe your Personal Brand thoughtform needs some conscious spellcasting to help you along.  It couldn’t hurt to try, right?

Dare to succeed in your careers witches, warlocks, wizards, et al.  Go ahead, I double-dog dare ya.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Empathy – psychic ability or good sense of smell?

There are a lot of folks in the New Age and Pagan communities who list Empathy as one of their gifts, or even self-identify as an Empath, meaning that they sense and experience the emotions of others.  Folks in the non-psychic arena define empathy as “the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another” – basically inferring it’s intellectual, not psychic.

I was listening to the radio while driving recently, and there was a news story about animals and something to do with pheromones.  So naturally my brain meandered over to the memories of other information about pheromones and I realized that most of what I’ve heard about on the subject was related to either fear or sex.

But what if there’s more?  What if there are pheromones we exude when we’re calm, different ones when we’re happy, or sad?  What if, instead of empathic, a lot of us are just accurately interpreting what the pheromones mean because of a good sense of smell without knowing it?  I suppose that it doesn’t really mean much in terms of what the person experiencing someone else’s emotions goes through, it’s just something to think about.   We may never know the answer, if there is one.

For folks who are sensing someone’s emotions from across town, that’s definitely still a psychic ability.  

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rattling Cages

It’s funny how we accept certain things as truths and then forget to ever question them again.  We think of ourselves as wild and free pagans who color outside the lines and are our own independent thinking creative selves, not adhering to anyone’s dogma.

And we’re wrong.

How many people in the pagan community, when asked about the use of sage in ritual would say “Oh, that’s for purification”?  Or if handed a piece of hematite would ask “Do I look like I need grounding or something?”  We accept little things like this as truth because everyone says it’s true.

But is it?

Personally, I can’t figure out why anyone thinks hematite is grounding at all.  It’s shiny silver on the outside and blood red on the inside, and I find it to be quite a pick-me-up to hold onto.  But if I tell the average pagan or new age person that, they tell me I’m mistaken.    I can’t get near fluorite for any length of time because it winds up falling to pieces just being near me.  Other people think it’s the most awesome stone ever because it’s so versatile, magically speaking.

Chamomile is also supposed to be soothing and calming, but since I’m allergic to it I just itch and get an upset stomach if I touch or consume it.  It’s a medical truth that chamomile calms a lot of people down, but I don’t react the same way.  I also don’t find caffeine to be a stimulant, it just doesn’t seem to affect me.  Roses are totally soothing for me, but deadly for someone I work with.  The scent of amber makes my throat start to close, while patchouli does that to someone else I know.

“But that’s just body chemistry”, some people have said.  So what’s the difference?  We’re all individuals, and we don’t react to everything the same way physically.  Why wouldn’t that same truth apply to us energetically, psychically, and metaphysically?

We have to be ok with each other having different reactions to energy, or we’re just being hypocrites when we say we accept each other’s differences in our community. If one of us has a reaction to energy, gemstones, herbs or food that isn’t typical, then we just need to accept it and move on instead of trying to “fix” the person (as I’ve had a few try to do with me).

We’re not cookie-cutter people, we’re individuals.  So maybe we shouldn’t just blindly accept what someone tells us is a fact in our fluid changing world, and think about it for ourselves.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Let's talk Initiation

Before I get started, I want to be clear that I'm not asking anyone to divulge oathbound secrets on a blog on the Internet.  But in the 25+ years I've been practicing Wicca, I've noticed some unusual happenings pertaining to the initiatory experience that I'd like to explore, hopefully with input from others who are comfortable talking about it.

If you don't know, I generally work within a mostly Wiccan tradition of the sort practiced before the Llewellyn books were widely available.  A lot of the current eclectic Wiccan traditions don't resemble what I do, although that doesn't make them invalid for the folks practicing them.  It's just different.

That said, I've worked in a 3-degree system for most of my adult life (well, aside from the 4th degree initiation I received that's such a mystery I wasn't really told anything about it before or afterward).

To prepare folks for initiation, I was taught that fasting for 4-6 hours was preferable, abstaining from nicotine, caffeine, or any mind-altering substance was mandatory, and that eating a vegan diet for 3-7 days prior was ideal.  For people on prescription medication, that's not always possible.  Most smokers can't go 4-6 hours without nicotine, and most coffee/soda drinkers can't abide the idea of going that long without caffeine.  The folks who don't follow the rules I was originally given are usually the ones most likely to have some sort of negative experience after the initiation, though.

I've seen a lot of different things happen to folks after their initiation, whether I was involved or not, and some of them were more negative than others.  Always on the lookout to improve the experience for everyone, I'm interested in feedback from anyone who either recognizes these or has something else to add to the list.

After-effects of Initiation:
  1. Fatigue – is this normal, as a result of energy channels (meridians?) opening wider from the initiatory experience, or is it a result of too much energy being flooded through someone?  How do we measure or regulate how much energy one uses to initiate?
  2. Confusion – I think when confusion happens and someone is “thinking fuzzy” for a few days after initiation, it may be a result of improper grounding, or something has gone wrong with the integration process of the new energy assimilating into the existing system to create the change that goes with initiation.
  3. Hyper-awareness, Insomnia – lumped these together because they can be sort of related.  The initiate is highly stimulated by the initiatory experience, but they can’t ground enough to sleep, and the heightened sensory input that sometimes accompanies initiation also keeps them from relaxing.  In some cases, they may need to be grounded by someone else if they’re unable to make it work.  This should happen before they leave the place of initiation, to make sure this “hyper” state doesn’t kick in later as it sometimes does.
  4. “Purging” – I’ve seen everything from profuse sweating (elevated body temperature), diarrhea, vomiting, to gallstone or kidney stones post-initiation – sometimes even just after a Reiki attunement.  I still don’t have a handle on this one, but I’m betting that it has something to do with pre-initiation preparations not done right.
  5. Sex drive – this one might be normal, but I’ve seen both elevated and depressed sex drive in people post-initiation, with no discernible pattern to indicate a cause either way.
  6. Flu-like symptoms – In at least two occurrences, I’ve seen post-initiation illnesses that appeared to be like a bout of the flu.  Is it possible that in certain circumstances the immune system is suppressed by the initiatory experience, making the initiate more susceptible to infection?
  7. Fainting – had a big strapping lad pass out once, but later we found out that he fasted longer than instructed, so combined with the hot bath pre-initiation and the flood of energy coming at him as he approached the circle, the fainting wasn’t a surprise.  The fainting afterward also wasn’t a surprise, but we fed him up and he seemed fine later, although he stopped practicing the Craft and couldn’t really explain why.

Your thoughtful responses are of course appreciated  :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is your spiritual practice healthy?

Before anyone rolls their eyes and starts wondering just how awful this post is going to be, take a breath and relax.  This post is more about questions than answers.

How do we define a healthy spiritual practice?  It's not religion-specific, in my opinion, and I think it's an individual and personal question.

A friend of mine was recently accused of not being a "real witch" over something that was none of the accuser's business.  My initial reaction to hearing about that was "that's unhealthy" - which prompted this train of thought.

I think that in order for my spiritual practice to be healthy, it has to meet the following criteria:

1.  Make me strive to be a better person
2.  Remind me to be kinder to others
3.  Fit into my daily life
4.  Help me find inner peace
5.  Help me find a state of harmony with the natural world around me
6.  Inspire me to go out into the aforementioned natural world instead of just thinking about it
7.  Inspire me to make good choices
8.  Attract like-minded people, so I'm surrounded by good friends

That's my list in a nutshell.  If what we're doing is not helping us, then why are we doing it?  I know, that last statement really is open-ended and general, and applies to lots of different situations, but that doesn't make it any less valid a question.

I hear a lot of unconscious snobbery and elitism in the pagan community, reducing people into categories and otherwise demonizing them, and I just don't think that's healthy for either the snob or the snubbed.  Those attitudes put out a lot of energetic garbage, in addition to being basically unkind.  Thinking of myself as a "pre-Llewellyn Traditional Wiccan" is descriptive, and I have to confess it's because I think Wicca has changed in large part due to the Llewellyn books over the years, and not in ways that resemble what I do at all.  I don't intend it as a slight to folks who learned the Craft a different way, but I realize it may be interpreted that way.

We say a lot to ourselves and each other that "all life is connected to everything" - I think I still have a pin with that on it from back in the 80's in a drawer somewhere.  So if all life is connected, then being rude to others is a form of self-hate, but it's worse than that.  It also prompts a negative reaction in the other person, and it spreads from there.  Calling people "elitist" is just as nasty as calling someone a "fluffy bunny".  Saying that "New Age" rhymes with "sewage" is dismissing something that may be very important to someone else and reducing it to garbage.  You might as well just bend over and spread your cheeks all day if you're going to be that much of an ass in public.

So, with that rude image in your head either making you uncomfortable or making you laugh, let's get this back on track.  What does a healthy spiritual practice mean to you?  Is that what you're doing, or at least working towards?  If not, why not?  We can't all afford to eat organic or have personal trainers whip us into shape, but one thing we all can do is think healthier about ourselves and others.

Just my 2 cents.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Three-fold Fib

I've said it before and I'll say it again - the Three-fold "Law" is a big fat serious lie.

I don't have to go digging up archaic historical references or try to mis-apply laws of physics to justify that statement, either.  Look at your own lives and the people you've known.  How many people who have died of cancer actually deserved such a painful, horrible death?  How many folks who gleefully run around giving others the shaft and stabbing people in the back have financial success and have a whole lot of fun?  How many people in the 9/11 attacks might have had the "bad karma" that meant they deserved that death?

Yeah, exactly.

Do I believe that what we put out we get back?  Yes.  Just not 3 times.  Do I believe that Deity punishes people according to our moral guidelines?  Nope.  The gods have their own rules, and they aren't sharing what they are.

Personally, I think Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente made the 3-fold "law" up in an effort to keep people from running around hexing everyone willy-nilly.  While I understand that it may have been for "the greater good", I also question whether they should have been teaching magic to people they didn't trust to use it wisely?  Maybe for the time period, it was the prudent thing to do, but do we really need those kind of training wheels anymore?

I think the "Rule of Three" has itself caused harm.  There are all sorts of people who won't even cast a healing spell for someone in a coma because it might "interfere with their free will".  Poppycock.  If someone is meant to die, or stay in a persistent vegetative state, or even have a really bad case of the flu, then my attempts at healing them won't make a bit of difference.  If, however, the sick person is presented to me as an opportunity to help someone and I don't try to help them for fear of negative repercussions (which many are), then what kind of witch am I?  Personally I think if you don't help, you don't deserve to call yourself a witch.  I know we can't help everyone because trying to do that would burn us out completely, but a wise witch listens to their intuition and knows when and when not to try to help, and doesn't live in fear of backlash.

So yes, I'm saying it publicly - go ahead and cast healing spells.  Cast fertility spells for friends who are trying to have a baby (as long as they're not also doing fertility treatments, or they could wind up with triplets or more).  Cast a curse on people who are raping, robbing, and otherwise causing harm.  You might help save lives that way.  Have the cojones to be a witch, for goodness' sake.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Meditation and Distractions

I know lots of pagans don't meditate daily, and many of us get distracted with the business of living and forget to take this self-care step for ourselves, so we're just not as practiced at it as a Tibetan monk.  But I think I've discovered the fast track to getting good at it.

This isn't about buying some horribly expensive product like Holosync, and while it could involve sales I doubt it would take off very big if someone tried to make money off of it, so I'll just give it away.  Little girls screaming.

That's the key to becoming an uber-fantastic meditator, I'm sure of it.  Let me explain.

My bedroom, where I do most of my meditating since I had to let a friend move in and take over my temple space, faces the front yard and the street.  The house next door, closest to my bedroom, has a little girl who frequently has friends over.  Last night, I had some time before dinner prep and when the roommate got home, so I thought I'd relax from the day and meditate.  I'd gotten about a third of the way into trance, when the girls started playing in the front yard and the screaming began.

Before I go further, let me state that I am absolutely not anti-child.  I like kids, they're cute and stuff, and I would never want harm to come to any of them.  That said though, I think the piercing sounds of a bunch of little girls has got to be the most trance-shattering noise out there.  I can meditate my way through certain levels of pain, past dogs barking, and blithely not hear helicopters flying overhead while I'm in trance, but those little girls knocked me right out of it in nothing flat.

If you can meditate through little girls screaming, then my pointy hat is off to you.  Personally, I'm considering paying them $5 each to just run around and scream with glee while I'm recording it, to use as a meditation-strengthening tool.