There are all kinds of love magick. Magick that draws true love to you, magick that keeps your love intrigued and interested, and the truly important kind where you’re wrapped in a love that spans generations.
My great-grandmother was a crocheter and every free moment that I can remember she had a hook in her hands creating something that would wrap around and surround those she treasured in a blanket of love. She was the matriarch of our family for decades and someone I was fortunate enough to learn many essential life skills from. She taught me how to cook, how to plant and harvest crops and most importantly how to be a pillar of strength to those around me. I learned so much from her just by watching her and listening to her stories and seeing how she carried herself.
The best gift she could give me though was one that I wouldn’t see come to fruition for many years. When I was about 20, I became engaged for the first time in my life. Grandma took me aside one afternoon and we went out to one of the cedar chests that she possessed. This particular one held all of the afghans that she had created, but that had not yet found a home. She dug through the blankets looking for something specific. When she found the one she was searching for she carefully unwrapped it from the tissue paper it was protectively wrapped up in. It was a beautiful, but small, blanket with soft pink, blue, white, and mint green. She held it out to me and I looked at it and was I was puzzled as I took it into my hands. What I held was obviously a baby blanket and I had no idea why she would be showing it to me.
She told me that this was a blanket that she has created for her first great, great-grandchild. At the time I told her it was beautiful, but that she would probably be better served showing it to my brother since he’d probably have children before I would. At that time I had no intentions of having any children, and later I was told by several doctors that I would never be able to get pregnant. So, it was something that I really didn’t think about after that moment where she’d shown me this beautiful little creation.
Years melted away and finally she passed back into the hands of the great-mother. When I was helping my Great Aunt, Mom, and Uncle sort through her belongings after her passing, we came once again to that special cedar chest with all those hand-made afghan blankets. I remember everyone being asked if they needed or wanted another blanket. Everyone said no. Many of them had more than one that she had made especially for them, so they had no need for another. I couldn’t bear to see them thrown out or donated so I took each and every one that was left. (I’m sure that my friends will understand and probably laugh at this. One of my boyfriends quipped once that I’d only be happy if it was 90 degrees inside and I had a blanket.)
It was something that I didn’t actively think much more about from that point forward. I moved a few times in the within the next decade and stored a few things at my brother’s place. Some of my stuff is still there as a matter of fact!
Then there came the moment that I got pregnant. I hadn’t thought about that baby blanket in over a decade, but as the due date came closer and closer it was something that I couldn’t get out of my mind. I rearranged the house in order to prepare for the birth of my first child. I started ‘nesting’ and then I called my brother. I asked him to dig through the things that I had tucked away at his home and to look for that one specific blanket. I told him what I remembered of it. It was more a small rectangle of yarn with several colors that I only vaguely recalled. To his credit, he humored me and dug through the boxes and bags to find this special little blanket.
My brother brought me the blanket the same weekend that my husband and I brought home our newest member of our family. I was able to wrap my little boy in a blanket that his great, great-grandmother had made just for him. Across several decades and though she never got a chance to meet him she was able to reach through time and space to offer comfort and love to a grandson that she knew would enter the world long before I did. She may never have claimed the label of witch, but she was certainly clairvoyant in her own way and celebrated the turning of the wheel of the year. It was her foresight that enabled him to have a piece of her heart near him!
I’m so glad that she took the time to show me that small creation of hers even though I initially dismissed its significance. I’m so happy that I listened to that voice in the back of my head that told me that I needed to keep those treasures that she had created with her own hands. I’m so blessed that my little man gets to know his great, great-grandma through one of his favorite possessions. He loves his blankie! Through this creation he will get to know her. Once he’s old enough to hear and understand the stories he’ll know how all those years before his conception she knew he was coming and made this special little blanket just for him. That she made sure I knew about its creation so that he’d have this small token of her love and affection because she knew she might not be there to meet him.
She was an important part of my life, a person who greatly shaped the person I’d become. I hope that through this small connection she’ll help shape a part of who he’ll become through her unconditional and true expression of love. This truly is love magick in its purest form!
Fresh starts, clean slates, dawning of a new chapter in one’s life are rare opportunities and should not be overlooked.
I find myself facing that fresh start and while it presents a unique opportunity it is also very daunting. I moved a couple of years ago but have yet to fully explore the possibilities of community in the area. I had a new baby, new family, and was trying to get settled in. Finally, I feel ready to start meeting with others and begin finding that camaraderie of spirit a little closer to home. This in no way means that I’m giving up my friends, family, and coven in the St. Louis area, but more to the point that I’m able to allow the seeds of friendship to begin taking root here. I’m ready to start facilitating groups and start teaching here as well as in St. Louis. (I’ll be co-hosting a discussion group with Ellen Dugan on March 22nd at Mystic Valley!)
I’m going to begin blogging about getting ‘Back to the Basics of Magick.’ This will be a series of posts that will outline the foundation that a good magickal practice can be built on. It will also include some of my personal insights and stories that I’ve encountered along the way. I think everyone needs to begin somewhere and if this is their first exposure to the Craft, then it will provide them excellent footing no matter where their own personal paths may lead. For those who are a bit more seasoned I think that sometimes we just need to get back to our roots, go back to the basics and in doing so rediscover the mysteries that we’ve forgotten.
The comfortable and familiar try reinsert themselves into the equation and keep one from moving forward. We do things in a certain order and in a certain way each time that we approach creating sacred space, that we perform ritual, that we commune with deity. While they may work are they stifling our creativity? Is it preventing us from knowing the deeper truth of ourselves?
I’ve been considering teaching this as an online course so if there is an interest I may do that this summer. I’d like to have 5-6 students to begin with and the cost would be small for the trial run. It would be an expanded version of what’s available on the blog and would last several months, cover a few additional topics, require homework, discussions, and a couple of projects.Stay tuned for the first installment of the new series in March.
It’s my hope that you take advantage of all the opportunities that life presents to you!
I was approached to be a part of a Blog Talk Radio show this past Saturday evening. While I’ve done interviews in the past for The St. Louis Post Dispatch and been a Co-Host of a radio show this past summer, I was racked with nerves all week. I know what you’re thinking…why? Well, that’s an excellent question, and the best I can come up with is that two previously separate parts of my world decided to collide.
Science & Wicca/Witchcraft
Take a look at that header again. Science…and…Wicca/Witchcraft. Though the concepts are not in and of themselves mutually exclusive they aren’t often looked at together. However, in my life the two are intrinsically linked. I’ve always seen the two come together.
Potions and brews are much like working in a chemistry lab. You have to know what you can safely mix together and in what proportions. Or the results can blow up in your face.
Then there’s the God and the Goddess. I’ve always been one that firmly believed in the duality of the godhead because it is something I see within the fabric of nature. There is masculine and feminine throughout the various classifications of species.
For my formal education I initially started out studying Geology. I had to leave school for a while once my grandparents passed away, but when I had the opportunity to return to school there wasn’t a Geology program at the University I attended. So, I decided to study Anthropology with my emphasis in Archaeology. My reasoning being that I would be able to use the knowledge I had gained in the Geology program. It certainly did give me some additional insights that helped with field work. I was able to work independently and just have the resident Geologist come by and confirm my soil classifications.
I founds that working in the field and recovering artifacts from past cultures was fascinating and exciting. There’s nothing quite like seeing the pieces slowly start coming together. One moment you have bare ground, the next you’re excavating a keyhole structure. The remains of an ancient culture’s dwelling that for the first time in hundreds of years is now visible again. That’s the type of find that can give you insight into how the people in that area lived, what they found valuable, and what they considered sacred based on the placement within the dwelling. Pretty incredible right?
It is, but then again it doesn’t pay very well. So, I took a more ‘normal’ day job to help pay my bills. So, it’s been a while since I’ve worked in the field.
Wicca and Witchcraft are a daily part of my life. It is a part of who I am and a lot of my work now revolves around that community. So, when an opportunity came up to be a part of the LCO Blog Talk Rado show I jumped on it. Then I had a moment of panic. What did I just do? I haven’t actively worked in the field for a while and while I’m not in the broom closet by any means, it was the first time that I’d allowed the two worlds to intersect.
My main goal for the show was to show the connection between the two. I wanted to be able to show that Modern Paganism is in fact influenced by past cultures. How they perceived the world and interacted with it can still have a dramatic impact on us in modern society. The fact that there was goddess worship in multiple areas of the world and the fact that plants were used beyond medicinal purposes but stretched into the realms of burial and ceremonial rites. Those insights allow us to embrace the past and still apply it in a new and meaningful way in the future.
Facing the Fears
So, I took the bull by the horns and did the show. I know I sounded nervous and there were a few stumbles, but I feel pretty good about how the show went. Was it perfect? No. But then again nothing is ever perfect. One of my goals was to show that I could hold my own and show that science and spirituality can complement one another. I think that some interest may have been sparked and the host indicated that they may like to revisit the topic in the future. Now that the initial show has been done I think I can more adequately prepare for another show.
Let me know what you think. Listen in for yourself. Here’s the link to the archived show!
I know, I know.
Ok, I know that I’ve been a little remiss about keeping this blog up to date lately. I’ve been a bit busy since the start of the year. I can’t help but wonder where did January go?
The month of January has been full of planning and execution. There have been a lot of opportunities present themselves since the start of the year. These are opportunities that have taken a long time to develop and they are also soul-feeding. I think that’s probably the best thing of all, it is literally a rewarding experience to have been able to participate in these activities.
So, what have I been up to?
For starters I’ve been working with Witch School International. I was given a lovely opportunity to work with some fantastic people to help with the continuing education of magickal practitioners from across the globe. It’s been challenging and it’s taken up a good chunk of my time. However, I love interacting with the students, mentors, and the administration. They have built a wonderful platform and I’m excited to be an active part in where it’s heading.
I’ve been in the midst of revising articles for publication in 2015. Yes, I’m already editing things for a year from now. I’ve been fortunate to have two articles contracted for the 2015 Llewellyn Annuals. I’m not saying what they are just yet, but one you can pre-order them I’ll post the article titles. In fact I’m already working up ideas for future articles and starting to proactively write on those now. So, that’s been eating up some of my time as well.
I am, of course, working on Pagan Picnic and trying to find new and interesting presenters. I am always on the look out for new workshop and ritual ideas. So, if there is anything you have that you’d like to see please drop me a line so that I can actively seek that out.
I was approached by a local hospital to help conduct some clergy services. I can say that this has been a pivotal moment for me. I found that it was an extremely rewarding experience. This has been the one calling that I’ve resisted acting on for a number of reasons (but that’s another post). So, I’m am happy that I was able to assist when a Sister in the Craft needed me most.
I was also able to participate in a recent radio show. I’ll post more in depth about this later. Suffice to say that it was one moment where my nerves got the better of me. I know that I’m supposed to be Super Woman (I’ve been accused of being such in the past.), but when you start to combine two facets of a previously divided world into one it’s a bit scary. Thankfully, I got through it and I’m looking forward to the next time I’m a guest on a show.
Also, I’m no longer living within the St. Louis Metro area I’ve also been looking for opportunities to meet with like minded individuals and possibly start teaching. You know me, I’m not happy unless I’m busy!
So, that’s what I’ve been up to in a nutshell. I hope you’ll stay tuned to see what’s next in these crazy adventures and I hope that you’ll share with me any topics that you think need to be discussed.
After all, we only grow in our knowledge when it’s offered up to all!
As we make a push into a new season there seems like there is always someplace we need to go or something that needs to be done. The hustle and bustle becomes a pulse. So, as the season turns and we push into summer from spring we start gearing up for the festival season. We have a need to get out and experience nature and to share with people that we have missed. We experience a need to shed the cloak of winter which was wrapped around us as we contemplated our own projects as we prepare to open ourselves up to others and needs beyond our own.
It can be difficult to readjust and find a balance. When that happens it’s often good to get back to basics. I can’t think of anything more fundamental and more basic to most pagans than the elements. In almost every path they are honored. So, in that respect we will be grounding into the elements and reconnecting with the earth to bring balance back into our lives.
This meditation and grounding is written to be done indoors, but is easily adapted to outdoor and group use. You’ll want to gather items that represent each element. Some suggestions are: Earth – Use a rock, a crystal or a dish of salt. Air – You can use a feather, burning incense, or a fan turned on low. Fire – Place a lit candle, a statue of a dragon, or a red flower on your altar. Water – Use a container filled with water, a shell, or a picture of mermaid or water deity. Remember these are just suggestions; use the items with which you have a connection.
Arrange the items you’ve chosen on your altar or in front of you where you can see them. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Repeat this several times feeling more at peace and centered with each exhalation. Allow the day to melt away from you as you focus on balance and tuning yourself to the elements.
We’ll start with the element of earth to provide us a good foundation. Touch the item you have that represents earth. Feel the weight of it and the texture. What does this item represent and mean to you? Contemplate the subtle strength and stability of earth and what it brings into your life.
Place your hands on or through (incense) item that represents air. Though this element is not always tangible it is always present down to our very breath. What does the item you’ve chosen represent and mean to you? Consider the creativity and inspirational nature of this element.
How is the element of fire represented on your altar? Take the item and observe it, if it’s a flame, or consider what other way you may have chosen to recognize fire. What does the item you’ve chosen represent and mean to you? Fire can both destroy and provide rebirth. Ponder what the element of fire and the passion and rebirth it can bring into your life.
Finally, take the item that represents water from your altar. What does this item represent to you? The element of water is often representative of emotions and intuition. Reflect on how water manifests in your life and the tranquility you seek.
You have taken each element in turn. You’ve contemplate what each item means to you. Now, considered what you want to bring into your life from each that would bring you personal balance.
Finish your grounding by reciting the following:
Through the elements I find strength, inspiration, passion, and peace.
Each has its place and through them I find my balance and poise.
The strength of the standing stones sustains me.
The inspiration of the breeze carries me.
The passion of the flame lights my path.
The tranquil waters bring me comfort and peace.
These are the aspects of the elements that I draw to me.
As I will it so shall it be!
This meditation was previously published at Pagan Pages in January 2010 with myself as the original author.
Balance is tenuous, it is delicate and hard to maintain. The hustle and bustle of our daily lives often pushes us out of harmony with those around us and our spirituality. So, how do we pull everything back into alignment?
I find the best lessons always present themselves when we need them and are ready to truly listen. I recently went to the Botanical Gardens here in St. Louis with a couple of friends. While we were enjoying the morning, taking photos, and discussing a variety of topics my friend related to me the story of the Japanese garden and how it was laid out. Everything had been done in a precise manner, being mindful of the areas that were open, those that were closed, and those that focused on a particular area.
I had never taken the time to appreciate the layout before, just maneuvering through my previous visits and noting the plants and moving on. However, I took the time to hear her words, and pay particular attention to the landscape around me. The most striking aspect was the three standing stones in the lake. As we started the walk through the garden they were three distinct pillars. Through the journey they merged and seemed to become one as they jutted out of the water, and then as you emerged from the garden they again separated. The standing stones there mirror to me the way we all come into and out of balance. The moments of complete alignment are sometimes brief and intense or they can linger, but always it is a cycle.
For this meditation it would be better to be outside if possible. Lie in the grass and close your eyes, feel the earth beneath you and let your troubles melt into the ground. Take a deep breath and let it slowly out relaxing into the earth a little more with each breath.
See in your mind’s eye a series of standing stones. You see them arranged in a cluster in the distance and you’re mindful that you need to be in alignment with them. In doing so you’ll pull yourself into balance with the mental, physical, and spiritual realms. Be aware of the path you take as you try to pull them into alignment. Which direction did you go; did you move closer or farther away?
As they start to merge into a singular monument in your line of site notice how you feel. Do you feel balanced, grounded, centered? Stay in this position and take note of what it would take to pull this into your everyday life. When you move on know that you are not out of sync now, but merely continuing on your journey. The balance and centering you experienced is within you always. Be mindful of your surroundings and how you treat those around you. If you do those things, you will always be in alignment with your highest good.
This meditation was previously published at Pagan Pages on June 2010 with myself as the original author.
What should have been a great feel good story for those of various Pagan paths became overshadowed on Sunday by the blatant ignorance of a ‘news’ outlet. We certainly need to voice our concern as a community for their intolerance. You can do so by signing a petition here or go here for email addresses of the president and chairman.
However, rather than focus on the negative let’s take a look at the good news that came out this weekend!
In a move toward inclusion and tolerance of religious beliefs, the University of Missouri decided to update their Guide to Religion in order to include the Eight Wiccan Sabbats. The guide produced by the university outlines both dates of the holidays and their basic practices. It also provides guidelines for professors to recognize these dates so that they can know when best to schedule exams and activities for their classes.
What we have wanted all along is equality. Inclusion of our holy days alongside other major religions certainly goes a long way toward achieving that goal. We have to continue to be worthy of that inclusion and that means that we need to be diligent about advocating for our rights. We have to know when to stand up and fight intolerance and advocate on our own behalf. If we don’t do it, no one will!
There will be many who will question the University of Missouri systems inclusion of these holidays, but I applaud their effort toward inclusion! We need to be able to acknowledge those entities and individuals that look beyond themselves. Only with their willingness to do so can we continue toward religious equality for all.
There has long been a debate over love spells and their casting. It’s a topic that draws a lot of strong opinions from all sides. Some of the issues stem from whether or not they should be done at all. The other side of the coin is if you do the spell how do you do it properly.
Let’s be brutally honest for a moment. There aren’t too many people I know that haven’t at some point cast some sort of love spell. Now, it may not have ended up with an obsessive stalker hounding their every move, but let’s face it they seldom turn out well. The reason for this is really because instead of discussing responsible ways of casting these types of spells we just tell those new to the Craft not to do it.
I think anyone who’s ever dealt with a teenager can tell you the best way to push someone straight into the situation you want them to avoid is to tell them it’s a bad idea! Loneliness is another motivating factor. Everyone feels the push to find that special person to enrich their lives.
Here is a little practical advice to keep you from doing more harm than good if you decide to give Cupid a little help aiming his bow.
Cast a Spell for Yourself – Try drawing someone special into your life without a lot of stipulations. Open yourself up to the possibilities of the universe, put yourself out there and see what happens!
Keep it Simple – The spell should be simple and your intent clear to produce the best results. The more complex you try to make it the more chances that something can go wrong.
Be Patient – Realize that love takes time. The universe and deity may throw a few potential partners your way. It takes time for a good relationship to take root so that it can last.
Cast on Anyone Else – This imposes your will over someone else’s free will. It’s just bad Karma!
Be Vague or Cryptic – When you cast you don’t want to be vague or cryptic in your spell work. It leaves the door open for misinterpretation that can be far from what you initially intended.
Rush – Trying to rush a situation with a potential lover will only end badly for you both.
These are a few simple guidelines and by no means are they completely inclusive. You need to use common sense and take personal responsibility for any spells you cast. (Yes, I said it…Responsibility!) If something you put out there goes awry, then you need to take the steps to correct it. We’ll discuss the how’s and why’s of canceling out such a spell in another post.
As many of you know I work on the St. Louis Pagan Picnic Committee. I’ve been on the committee pretty much continuously since 2003. It’s been a great honor to be able to serve the community in this area and it happens to be one of my passions.
It all happened long ago, but I happened to open my mouth and make it known to the universe that I was going to get involved in the community once I moved to the St. Louis area. I know…I know…be careful what you wish for! Well, I went to a meeting for picnic intending to volunteer a few hours at the event and came away as Programming Coordinator. Fortunately, I had some good mentors and excellent support so I could get my bearings! I love my job on picnic and it’s given me a chance to meet some terrific people in the area and some of the more well-known individuals in the greater Pagan community.
Below are links to a few of the video interviews I’ve done at Pagan Picnic over the years! (From these you’d never know I was shy.) I thought that these would be a fun little extra to put up on the website for your viewing pleasure. As you can tell from the videos the weather in St. Louis is varied in June, but some years are hotter than others!
As we approach Imbolc, I thought that it would be a good time to share the following meditation. Part of my own personal journey has been giving thought to where I wanted my life and spirituality to go this year. I made a promise to myself that I would not allow fear to paralyze my ability to share with others.
I have had the tendency to think that there would be no one who would want to know my personal take on Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism. However, I’ve been issued a few challenges that I feel I need to take on. I have had a few projects on the back burner that I am trying to bring to fruition and my spouse has been pushing me along and helping get me the tools to do it! There have been a few people in the Pagan Community that have acknowledge my contributions and are pushing me to do more. I am hoping to live up to those expectations, but more importantly my own.
Before we can welcome the light we have to acknowledge and accept the dark both within and without!
The Shadow Self
There are times where we seem to be waging an internal war. At those times we can be our own worst enemy, worst critic and hardest task master. So, how do we pull ourselves back into balance? We must acknowledge and embrace the opposing forces inside of us. Once we accomplish this task life will flow much more peacefully.
The way to do this is to recognize and accept your shadow self. You have to be able to identify the part of your psyche that you generally try to keep at bay. When you are ready to deal with this part of yourself you will be ready to begin.
As usual, you will want to find a quiet spot where you can relax and be undisturbed. You will want to take that mental side-step from daily life into the other realm. Close your eyes and relax slowly. Take a deep breath and exhale relaxing your neck as you do so. Roll your shoulders and feel your tension ease and as you take another breath and feel the muscles relax down your arms. Move your hands and fingers to remove the last of the tension from them. Take another deep breath and feel the core of your being within your solar plexus. Feel the light within you burn bright and melt any tension. Allow that light to continue down your torso and into your legs. The tension in your thighs and calves continue down, down, down into your toes. Wiggle your toes and feel the last of the tension leave your body and return to the earth.
Once you are relaxed open your minds eye. Notice your surroundings and that you are in the middle of a small clearing within a grove of trees. There isn’t much light, just enough to cast flickering shadows all around you. As your eyes adjust you notice that there is a thick fog obscuring your view and making any clear exits impossible to see. The only way to find your path is to identify your shadow self, know why it is a part of you, and understand it.
As you sit in the grove pondering the darker side of yourself you’ll want to ask several questions. What do you find most challenging about yourself or your personality? Does it affect your self-esteem or your interpersonal relationships? Do you find yourself prone to jealousy, anger, or doubt? Whatever your issue(s) may be, name it. Say it out loud within the grove and own that part of yourself.
Beside you, you’ll see a small stick next to where you are sitting. The ground around you is bare and soft. Take the stick and write into the soft ground what you have named your shadow self. Once you have done this you’ll notice a shape starting to form in the mist in front of you. You may or may not be able to identify what exactly the shape is. If you can, make a note of it for later. The fog will soften the image, making it almost intangible, but you can interact with it.
Talk to this aspect of yourself. You can ask any questions of your shadow self you’d like in order to gain a better understanding of its presence in your life. Tell your shadow self that you understand and accept that it is a part of who you are. It is a part of what makes you an individual and makes you stronger. Instead of fighting with your shadow self come to an understanding of how you can work together.
When you are able to come to the realization that you are stronger together than separate you can take the shadow self back into your life. The shadow within the fog will come closer to you; it will still be transparent and ethereal like a ghost. Close your eyes and it will float toward you and go to pass through you. Do not be afraid. Allow it to reenter your being and realign itself with you. You may feel something click within you as this piece of the puzzle finally fits into place. Once this shift has occurred you will be feeling whole again.
Now as you open your eyes and blink several times you’ll notice the fog starting to recede. The light in the grove is starting to brighten and new green shoots are sprouting out from the bare earth you were sitting on. The shadows around you are beginning to dissipate, retreating to the edge of clearing. When you are ready and you have addressed your issue(s) a path out of the grove will open. Walk out of the clearing and take the step back into reality.
The ability to face the darker nature that is within each of us takes courage. Understand that it is an integral part of who we are. Addressing it and how it manifests in your life will bring you greater inner peace and as a reflection your other interactions will be smoother.
This mediation was previously published at Pagan Pages in February 2010 where I was the original author of the piece.