Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween!

May your candy bags be full, and your costume malfunctions be few. :)

If you practice, may the Gods and Ancestors bless you and yours on the Samhain night! If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, may your Beltaine be beautiful and full of life.

Today's 44 Days of Witchery topic is about podcasting...

Here's one that I enjoy when I have time to just relax and enjoy music: A Darker Shade of Pagan

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 25

What do my loved ones think about my witchery?

I know my mother's uncomfortable but resigned. It's actually a bit of a sore spot. Some of my proudest moments have to do with my spiritual path, and she has absolutely no pride about those contributions. In her mind, my other endeavors are the only ones that count. Contributing to Sorita d'Este's Hekate: Her Sacred Fires matters for naught.

Oh well. I can only control myself.

My friends are largely either at peace with it, are Pagan themselves, or are vaguely uncomfortable-ish but don't say anything.

It doesn't come up much to be honest. I don't deny my spiritual life, but I also don't shove it at people.

My husband has absolutely no issue with it whatsoever. His step-mother and I have had discussions and she's intrigued. His father doesn't seem to have issues, nor his siblings.

Truth be told, I suspect that my in-laws are more at peace with it than my family.
One of my brothers is a bit anti-organized religion and spirituality as a whole. The rest of the family are pretty diverse religiously. We have Church of Christ, Baptist, Catholic, Atheist, and me... the Witch and Mystic.

So yeah, a mixed reception to be sure. The worst reactions have come from complete strangers, and those have been visceral and awful, but were totally the issue of the person rather than my own baggage. I don't worry about it much.

Monday, October 24, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 24

My Moon Sign.

Tropically: Taurus 2*
Sidereal: Aries 42*

This is one of those places where my charts look really different depending on which system I'm using.

With my moon in Taurus, I am very attached to what is familiar and prefer to live a steady life. It says I am romantic and value deep connections with others. Sentimentality and affection is important to me. Overall a Taurean moon is also determined and hard to force to give up on what matters to them. Serenity seems to be the watchword for this moon position.

But with a Aries moon, impatience, passion, and fire drive my subconscious world. It reflects a live in the moment perspective of the world. I take things personally. I come across as being confident, whether that's what I'm actually feeling or not. It signifies an inability to tell wants from needs and a plethora of crushes and flirtations. On the other hand, Aries Moons don't usually play games of manipulation, but can't be rather self-centered when they face an emotional crisis.

Parts of both fit me. I don't know if that's because at 2*Taurus, my tropical moon would reflect some of the Aries' traits. Or am I just making leaps in an effort to reconcile astrology to my conception of my self.

After all, I flip flop on how much stock I put in astrology in the first place. But looking at this sort of comparison can tell you a lot about astrology and about your perception of yourself.

Interestingly, I think I present an appearance of a Taurus Moon while possessing an Aries Moon internal landscape.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 23

Today's topic is Favorite candle which is a really light thing to talk over... ba-dum-dum.

I adore beeswax candles; they burn better and cleaner as well as smelling better than the chemicals that most candles carry.

But conceptually, I really love the red candle that I keep to represent Hekate's Sacred Fire when I am doing my Work. It isn't beeswax, but I love it for the pure fact of its symbolic meaning.

As you can tell, things have been becoming a bit more erratic. Autumn is so important to me, and we're getting right into the swing of things. I'm going to love it. :) In other words, expect some occasions when I won't be able to blog.

Friday, October 21, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 22

Current Moon Phase

It's the waning crescent. The New Moon is coming on the 27th. :) All in all that means that Samhain will be early Waxing Crescent, which I really like for the spiritual new year.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 21

Favorite Scent:

Natural or chemical? I'm very keen with my sense of smell. I have a raging addiction to Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs. One that has been sorely ignored in the past year or so.

Favorite scents...
Honeysuckle on spring mornings.
Bread yeast proofing in the kitchen.
Apple cider warming on the stove.
Roses fresh from the garden.
Live rosemary - There's a huge patch of it on campus and I regularly visit it and run my hands through it just because it smells so good.
Fresh lemon balm from my patio.
Warm hot Earl Grey.
Dragon's blood burning on a charcoal.
Campfire smoke in my clothes after a good time hanging around a fire with friends.

and lastly, not really a scent... exactly, but
the sharp ice sensation when you get the first really cold snap in winter. It feels and smells clean to me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 20

A picture of a tarot card and its meaning.

That's my bedroom altar with two cards from Aleister Crowley's Thoth deck.
You can see The Star clearest.

The Star is about hopes and dreams. She is the guiding star. The Star inspires us to our higher purpose. She is about flow and serenity.

In The Fool's Journey, the Star follows the tumble down chaos of the Tower, and the pain thereof. The Star is the moment when you start looking past the struggles and life-changing moments with the Tower.

But the thing about following our hopes and dreams is... we can get lost. So the card that follows is the Moon. The Moon offers spiritual guidance, but can also lead us towards confusion, or lunacy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 19

The Element of Fire -

A short post today since I'm at a deadline crunch. :) A few of them actually.

Which rather works for a discussion on fire now that I think on it. After all, this is the point where I summon all my Will and buckle down.

Fire is about Willpower and passion, heat and transformation. It devours earth and air and in the process creates renewal. It tempers steel so that we can hunt, cook, and defend for ourselves.

A healthy fire is delicately balanced, and needs tending to, just as our send of Passion and Will. An imbalanced Will can either result in lethargy or in being run down into exhaustion. Imbalanced Passion means rage or apathy.

Fire can burst free and break down everything of value. It destroys, and the ashes of its destruction lays out the foundations of a new creation.

It is the phoenix, and the wildfire, the volcano, and the desert. It isn't always comfortable, and even challenges our definitions of good on occasion, but it lives within all things as the illuminating force of life.

Monday, October 17, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 18

The Paranormal *cues creepy music*

Strictly speaking, I'd argue that what most people think of as "paranormal" is really just plain old normal.

I think the chances are that things like aliens exist, but I'm not won over as far as whether they visit Earth. It just isn't likely that we're the only life in the universe.

I have had experiences with ghosts, most of which are extremely private. It started when I was a child, and I eventually got to where I blocked it. Modern society says that people who can communicate with the dead are weird at best and delusional at worst. I put up walls. Now I am working on breaking those barriers down.

I even do the occasional ghost hunting with a friend or three.

I guess that's about it. I can't think of anything else that might fall into the category.

Ultimately, I think my view of it is that there is more to life than is dreamt of in all of our philosophies, to paraphrase Shakespeare.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 17

A picture of Fire

This is my Samhain ritual altar from last year. I hope this years is half as pretty.

This year, Texas has been ravaged by wildfire. This is a photo of the Angelina River Bottom Fire about two weeks after the fact. The scent of smoke and fire still lingered there. This is just the barest edge of it. The scary thing about some types of wildfires is that the fire can smolder inside of the roots and trunk of the trees and bloom up days after the fire has been contained.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 16

Favorite Witchy Website.

Hmmm... How can I choose just one???

I have to share two, followed by a confession.

My favorite Witchcraft site is from Forest Grove Botanica. There's a lot there that I know with which some will take issue. After all, there's a blog entry on how to use chicken hearts in magic just a bit down the page. But I learn so freaking much about witchery there.

For my simple love of altars and sacred objects, I head over to tumblr and fuckyeahaltars.

The truth is however, that I am doing so much work on my computer lately between doing some coloring work for a publisher and writing... that I don't visit many websites lately, witchy or otherwise. I check my favorite facebook groups - Covenant of Hekate (which is not a fb group but has a presence there), the SFASU Pagan Student Alliance, Hekate's Crossroads and the group of friends back home called cictrclan Shaman.

Of those, Covenant of Hekate is a closed group for Devotees and Torchbearers. For more information on that, check out the following links: - Sorita is the founder of CoH.

And that's about it. I've been so busy lately that not even Forest Grove has gotten my attention much.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 15

The afterlife. It is the question that everyone asks eventually, I think. What happens when we die?

Any ounce of honesty requires one to say, "I don't really know."

But I have had dreams of other lives. I am certain that something of us survives, and I believe death to be a doorway.

Now when I say that I've dreamt other lives, I don't mean that I think I was Cleopatra or Napoleon. That's ego speaking when people think that... maybe.

I mean that I was the child of a farmer. I was the daughter of a slave. And I don't remember much.

I have a complicated understanding of the afterlife, however. It was born out of the contradiction of believing in ghosts (I've seen those too!), Ancestors, and reincarnation. Why establish a practice talking to one's Beloved Dead if they're already back amongst us?

Now I don't really see a contradiction, but my original solution to the question holds still. The Afterlife isn't beholden to the same laws of time as this existence. Perhaps my next life will be in Sumer. Maybe I'm already living out my next life right now in the Czech Republic. Who knows?

I'll let that sink in for a moment.

I believe that we have lessons we take in and that we have the chance to integrate our experiences when we die, and then we come back. Outside of that, I don't have a clue.

I don't think of life as something to escape. I consider the idea that the material realm is automatically foul to be short-sighted and anthrocentric. I believe that animal souls and plant souls are just as vital and important as we are, and that we can come back in those forms as easily as we can as humans.

As a Panentheist, I don't believe that there is anything that doesn't partake of the Cosmic Soul, who I name Hekate like the Chaldaean Oracles have for centuries.

Monday, October 10, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 14

Favorite Witchy Day.

Halloween/Samhain is definitely my favorite for decoration and social activity. We buy a single witchy decoration per year, and we have a huge box of them as a result. I love it.

I maintain an ancestor altar year round, and it is generally small, but carefully cared for. I keep an ancestor box, and photos of my Beloved Dead. As the veil thins in October, I move it to the main altar, which quickly becomes dense with items and memories.

The university students host a public ritual, and I help design the ritual and supply what is necessary for it. Usually it is a grand time. This year's seems promising.

For my own purposes, I don't do my ritual until the astrological cross quarter, which is usually around Nov. 5-10, depending. This year Samhain is November 7th at 6:30 in the evening.

All that said, in May of 2010, I was honored to do the Rite of Her Sacred Fires with hundreds of people around the world. I invited a few friends and the ritual was so enriching that it has become an annual affair for all involved. We get together every May to feast and commune. It has overtaken Halloween in terms of meaning for me.

I'll also be hosting that ritual in November this year for a small group because a friend hasn't been able to attend any of the May ceremonies. I am curious if there will be differences as a result.

It all goes back to Hekate lately, I admit.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 13

Witchy Books that have influence my path:

I'm a bibliophile. There isn't a room in our home that doesn't have books, and we regularly struggle with figuring out where to put the new ones. I try to keep them organized, and all, but it would be in truth a full time job.

When I first started out, I wasn't very good at picking out reliable books. Early on, I picked up some that I still really appreciate like Ray Buckland's Big Blue Book, and Scott Cunningham's books on Wicca.

However, for a while there, my biggest influence was Edain McCoy... Potato Goddess and all...

But I got better. :)

These days I'm influenced more by Judika Illes, Phyllis Curott's Witchcrafting, and several books edited by Sorita D'Este and Bibliotheca Alexandria. Oh, and Dianne Sylvan! Along with some classics like Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardner.

My practice is a heady mix of old school witchcraft, Wicca, mysticism and somewhat traditional Hellenism. Most of the time, anyway. Labels just don't fit well.

Lastly, in spite of the links to Amazon Pages, if you buy these books, support your local Pagan shops or your small publishing houses.
For Avalonia Press the address is

Friday, October 7, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 11

Oils - I do so love to play with herbs and the like, though my magic in the kitchen is with bread and tea. :)

That said I have my fair share of oils I make when I need them. Currently I have some mint stewing for oils to use later.

I even have fake ones that I make for Halloween decorations. :0) If I told you how to make the sun cry or steal a hippogriff's tears, it would rob the fun of the decoration. Suffice to say, the real magic is in the tea stained labels.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 10

Sun Sign: I am not very skilled at astrology, I admit. I have a friend who is very good with it however. She doesn't do the tropical system, which doesn't correlate with the position of the sky in truth, and has blown my mind when it comes to the whole shebang.

In the tropical system, I am a Gemini with a ton of earthy signs in my chart, which is how I dealt with the simple fact that I don't act like a Gemini very much.

In the sidereal system that my friend uses, I am a Taurus with a lot of fire in my chart, which is a bit more me.

I know, I overcomplicate everything. To sum up, I'm a sidereal Taurus.

I'm also a Fire Snake in the Chinese Calendar.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 9

Favorite Mythical Animal

That's a hard one. I am an avid book collector, and I have a weak spot for bestiaries. It all started when I was browsing the library as a teen and found a Sci-fi bestiary that had corny pictures of aliens from other worlds. I can't remember who wrote it or even what the full title was, but it amused the heck out of me at the time.

Then I discovered the strangeness of the real thing. Medieval Bestiaries are full of oddities. Hedgehogs are said to use their spines to roll across feasts and steal food by having it stick. Ants and lions lay in bed together to produce ant-lions, and everything is a metaphor for the Christian worldview.

If you'd like to see for yourself, some of the better bestiaries are available online.

But as far as modern mythical beasts, I think my favorite is definitely the Gryphon. As a creature, it merges some of my favorite animals together: Lions and Eagles and rarely, snakes. Like a lot of monsters, they're said to guard treasure. Their favorite food is horse, and they're strong enough to carry oxen away in flight.

From that simple premise, artist have made some amazing adaptations. Now you can find gryphons in art that are part canary, or leopard. Pretty much any sort of bird or cat can be found in a gryphon in modern iconography. It makes for some amazing art.

Artists, like Nambroth, aka Jennifer Miller, McGibs, and Windfalcon play with the infinite variety that can be found in the modern Gryphon.

Please go check them out, and who knows, maybe you'll find you love the gryph as much as I do.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 8

A magical place outdoors:

What could be more magical than the Sea? Meet Sea Rim State Park, which isn't too far outside of Galveston, Texas, but doesn't have the crowding or the town. Part of a preserve, Sea Rim is three hours from here, give or take, and amazing to visit.

Nearby, one can birdwatch and alligator watch while simultaneously listening to the waves crash on the shore.

I was going to share some place more local to me, but I can't find the picture I had in mind.

Monday, October 3, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 7

Air, Wind, Gales, Breezes

Air connects all things. The air travels the entire world. The breeze that tugs your hair and clothes has visited Mount Everest, London, Antartica. It is a gift from the trees and grasses that we can breathe. It is our gift to those same flora from our own lungs. We nourish each other with every breath.

In many traditions, it was breath that brought life. It is breath that allows us to speak. It is the air that carries sound between us.

When I meditate on Air, I see a broad field with the sky spread bright and blue above me. The clouds are wispy and white, high above, looking like feathers. Birds take to the winds, singing and dancing on the drafts. The grasses whisper around me, shifting like water around me.

Air is the power of knowledge, and of communication of knowledge.

Gods associated with Wind are:
Amun(Egyptian), Aeolus and the Anemoi (Boreas, Zephyrus, Notus, and Eurus)(Greek), Shu (Egyptian), and the Venti (Roman), among many others.

I associate Wind with the Power of the Magus, "To Know."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 6

A favorite god:

I don't really have a practice with a God at the moment, but I have had such in the past. One of them, I suspect, is waiting for me to ask him back, so I'll talk him up today.

So what's with the photo of the kite?

Amun, the Egyptian Blue-skinned God. Primordial and immense in his nature, the surviving stories of him describe him as one of the creators of the Universe. His name means Hidden, and I associate perfect blue skies with him. He's what isn't readily visible in the photo.

Because he's so enigmatic and vast, I have trouble describing him and feeling like I'm remotely doing him justice. (I can say the same thing about Hekate, but there's been a lot more written about her than Amun and my relationship with her is more intimate.)

He's a wind god, and thus a god of storms. He can take the form of a ram, frog, or a goose, but don't think that that indicates that he lacks for authority. He's the King of the Gods, even when he isn't syncretized with Ra.

His wife is Mut, or sometimes Amunet. Luxor, which is overrun by tourists in Egypt today, was his temple, and some of the most magnificent art I have seen from Kemet was worked in his honor.

In the times that I have sensed him, it has been during crisis, and has been a comforting presence, a brief insight that the geese flying nearby aren't just a coincidence.

Just thinking about him makes me smile, yet Hekate is the primary force in my life right now and he seems okay with that. I know that when the time comes and I am ready, Amun will still be there.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

44 Days of Witchery: Day 5

A Favorite Goddess: Hekate

I'm pretty much a walking fan club for the Light-bearing Savior, Hekate. Much maligned in literature, much loved by her people, Hekate is the Goddess known as the Gentle-Hearted, the Guide, the Protector, and also the Queen of Phantoms, the Destroyer, the Invincible.
Her earliest images are of a young maiden sitting on a throne, or running with torches (though those images can also represent Artemis). The image of her with three forms seems to have been born in Athens.
As the Goddess of Crossroads, she is more associated with three-way junctions than with four. As locations where suicides and criminals were buried (and in some societies where criminals were executed), she does hold sway over the Restless Dead.

In my own personal experience, she is kind, but firm with her needs. She almost always has me hard at work, if not on an offering then on my self. Doing the work with my own inner demons is, of course, the harder of the two.
She loves to communicate with visions and dreams.

When she first came into my life, she intimidated me into a tiny ball, but now, I wouldn't have it any other way. She pushes me in new directions, reminds me of the majesty of life, and generally has made my life a better one.

She is one of my first thoughts in the morning, and my prayer before I sleep.

Hekate, Queen of Heaven, Earth and Sea
Who ensouls the world,
She who is the bringer of New Life
and the Guardian who accompanies the Dead into the World Beyond.
Hekate, Mistress of the Wild Beasts,
Whose light-bearing presences
Warms the souls of those who speak your names
and Guides us through towards new mysteries.
Hekate, Gentle Nurse,
Whose call strikes fear,
She who stands at the limit
where ever that might be.
Offer thanks to her,
She was there when we were born.
Offer thanks to her,
She will welcome us when we pass onward.
Offer thanks to her,
Her Mysteries are the secret that shall never be spoken, but felt and known.