Archive for the 'Personal' Category
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.
Well, another calendar year has turned the page and it’s now 2013. This for me embodies the ‘Year of the Witch,’ in more ways than just being denoted by a 13. There is so much going for this year and it’s difficult to describe exactly why that is. There just seems to be more on the horizon than in years past.
So, here is a breakdown on what the year promises to bring so far!
I have two writing projects that I am working concurrently on. One has been on the back burner for quite sometime, but I have the sudden urge to bring it to fruition. So, I’m working on getting it ready to go. The second is a pretty new idea and it’s something I hope to be able to offer on the website soon.
I’ve had one article published in the Magical Almanac with Llewellyn Worldwide for 2013 and I will have another one for 2014! So, I’ll keep writing smaller things as well.
Not to mention my duties as editor for, The Correllian Times. That takes up a good chunk of time, but it’s something that I enjoy.
I’ve also have started a discussion group with my good friend, Ellen Dugan. It’s going to be on a monthly basis out in St. Charles, MO. We’re also tossing a couple of other collaborative ideas around for later in the year. It’s been a lot of fun to just bounce ideas off of one another and put our love of community out there for others.
Of course, this summer there will be St. Louis Pagan Picnic, which will be on June 8th & 9th! I’ll be there as usual. There are a lot of great workshops and activities planned.
It may seem like a lot, but just like with everything else I try to take it one thing at a time. That way I don’t get too overwhelmed!
In fact, I recently had a conversation with a friend about that very topic and she was having a hard time with the changes she was wanting to implement for the year. I told her that the best thing she could do was to make one change now. Work on that change until it becomes a habit and then add another. All the small changes will eventually add up to a large change. Once that occurs you’ll be able to look back and appreciate all the hard work that it took to get there.
The reason most people’s New Year’s Resolutions fail is that they try to take on too much at once. If you break it down into smaller parts, you’re more likely to succeed. I know it’s a philosophy that I try to implement into my own life. It’s allowed me to take part in a great many projects and to expand my writing as well. Don’t let anyone discourage you from accomplishing your dreams, even if that person is yourself!
It’s been a bit since I’ve sat down and wrote out anything for the blog. It’s been an interesting time and I’ve been a bit more introverted than I usually am. There have been quite a few changes in my life as of late that have made me slow down a bit and take stoke of the important things.
If you don’t know me personally and/or follow me on Facebook or Twitter then you may not know that I’m currently pregnant with my first child, the second for our little family here in Mid MO. At first, I was in a bit of denial about it because I’d basically been told that I would have a very slim chance of ever conceiving. So when I took that pregnancy test and there was a ’+’ I had to take another one as it didn’t quite register in my brain.
Needless to say, we’re past the worrying point right now and well into the second trimester/beginning of the third. From all reports we have a healthy baby boy on the way! We are all looking forward to the addition to our family and the changes that it will bring into our lives.
I’m always looking for a challenge and if there’s something you would like to see covered in the blog or a product you would like to see reviewed or have one you’d like reviewed please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and there will be more regular posts from here on out!
At least once or twice a week I find myself fielding an email that goes something like this, “Hi I’d like more information on your group/coven. What does it take to join?” That’s the very simplistic version, but the answer is almost universally the same. I have to tell them we aren’t currently taking new members and then I suggest ways for them to become more involved in the community they are a part of.
Sometimes, the response is positive and other times not. In our, immediate gratification society, it’s difficult for people to understand why they are being turned away. Covens are, for all their mysticism, actually quite a bit of work. They are built on the bonds of friendship and those relationships typically don’t develop overnight.
We all have a need to belong, to know that we are not alone on this journey and to find others that hold the same beliefs as ourselves. I think everyone goes through this and sometimes that need shifts into overdrive.
Everyone has to start somewhere and when you’re delving into a new spirituality it can be daunting and confusing. Wiccans/Pagans/Witches typically don’t proselytize, so if you started seeking you feel like you’re pretty committed to the process. You feel like you should be taken seriously, and that everyone should want you in their group.
Here are a few tips for those looking for a coven, mentor, or teacher:
1) Become involved in your community. You’ll find you will naturally build connections with others as you attend open functions, study groups or volunteer at an event.
2) Be yourself. All too often people pretend to be someone/something they’re not in order to garner acceptance. This only hurts you in the long run because trust is hard to regain once broken.
3) Know your craft. Read/Study/Practice on your own. Groups like individuals who take initiative and show they would be a valued member.
4) Be selective. Just as a group is being choosy you should as well. What do the members offer you? Will they help further your path? Do you connect?
5) Be persistent but don’t stalk. If you have a desire to study with someone or join a particular group take no with a grain of salt. Ask if they have study groups, open circles, or other opportunities to meet with them. Making a connection takes time but groups evolve and change all the time and a closed door today may open in a year or two.
These are some very simple concepts, but they are the ones that people seem to overlook all the time. If you are patient and persistent opportunities will present themselves. When I first moved to St. Louis I didn’t know anyone and I wanted to make friends in the local community. I decided that I was going to get involved.
I even went so far as to make that declaration out loud. Little did I know what the universe had in store for me. There really is something to the saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it.” I ended up meeting someone that pointed me in the direction of Pagan Picnic. I decided to contact the committee to see about donating some time at the event.
I was invited to the next meeting and I went with my significant other in tow. By the time the meeting was over I was being asked to assume a committee position. I told them I’d need to think it over, but by the second meeting I was in and suddenly in charge of programming for the picnic. Now, years later it’s become once of my passions and it opened up so many doors to me. I met people from all kinds of different groups and I got to know them. Eventually, I had groups inviting me to attend functions and consider becoming a part of their group. Those people I know consider family. We have the occasional tiff, but push come to shove, they are there for me.
When you look to bring a mentor, teacher, or group into your life they are becoming a part of you and your journey. Make sure those you surround yourself with are ones that are worthy of your time and energy and that you are doing the same in return!
Yes, this question has actually been posed to me. I thought I would share the story since I think it’s worth telling.
When I was working in Springfield, I was fortunate to have a very good boss. I enjoyed going to work everyday and genuinely liked everyone that I worked with. There was a feeling of family there that I just really enjoyed since it was the first time I’d lived away from home.
Renee always put herself out there for her employees. She was always available by phone for countless questions on products and to mediate any customer issues. She was a loving and giving person and one that ended up in a bad situation. She was divorced, but living with her ex. Her two teenage sons lived with there as well. The living situation left much to be desired and one evening she tried to break up a fight between the boys. Renee got tossed like a rag doll.
When we were working the next day, I noticed the bruises. I didn’t even think about it before the words were coming out of my mouth. I insisted that she pack her things and come stay with me until we could get her a place of her own. She stammered something about being in the way and an inconvenience. Well, as we all know I’m not exactly tackful at times and I told her that if she didn’t pack her things that I’d come and do it for her. So, over the next few days she collected her things and I made space at my place for her.
It was ideal really. We worked opposite shifts so one of us almost always had the place to ourselves. Well, one night after work I came home to grab somethings before heading to Kansas City for the weekend. In my rush to get her squared away I had ‘forgotten’ that my witchy books were up on the shelf in my walk in closet. So, when I entered the threshold of the apartment Renee looked up from reading one of my books and greeted me with a voice reminiscent of Glinda the Good Witch saying, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”
At this point I was caught. I hadn’t come out to my co-workers as being Pagan, but here it was as plain as could be. I swallowed hard and blurted out, “I’m a good witch, of course.”
Really, what else could I say? (That leads into a whole discussion on black and white magick…which is for an another post.) I was afraid there might be repercussions from that admission, but thankfully there weren’t. It didn’t affect our relationship, personally or professionally.
That was a moment of truth for me. It was when I really felt completely committed to the path I was walking and honestly it felt good being able to say it out loud to someone and be held accountable for it. After that moment I’ve never doubted the path I’ve been on and I’ve never looked back.
As a Pagan that’s been fully out of the broom closet for the better part of 13 years, I’ve been pretty fortunate in the experiences along my journey. The majority of these have been positive, even if some of the people were not sure what Paganism or Wicca are.
I am extremely fortunate to have a great support system. My family is encouraging and supportive. They are proud of who I am and what I have accomplished. I have great friends who push and drive me to be a better person. Still, there are times when bigotry rears its ugly head.
Most recently, I came face to face with the small town American mentality that reminds me of why I am such a public Pagan. I rekindled a relationship with someone that I never had anticipated becoming involved with again, let alone speaking to.
He knows me better than I know myself at times. I guess that comes from knowing a person for over half your lives. We literally grew up together.
Good, bad, or indifferent we are connected in more ways than I can count and though every relationship has its issues when family comes into play things can get complicated very quickly. He and I have a history, but we were able to talk things out and come to the realization that what had transpired between us really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Even after all this time it was as if we’d never been out of each others lives. Conversations were easy and unfettered. The concern and caring were there alongside the brutal honesty that we both need. As far as we are concerned everything else is just water under the bridge.
It has not been as easy of a transition for everyone else though. There are some mitigating circumstances involved, but I have always been fond of his family so I didn’t think it would be as crazy as it’s proven to be. Of course, when we were dating before I was still trying to fit into the mold that everyone else around me was dictating. So, now that I have found myself and where I belong spiritually it is proving to be an issue.
It degenearted to the point one evening where his mother yelled at me from across the yard that I was ruining her son’s life. Her final insult? “You…you…witch!”
Now, if I had not been upset about the on goings of that entire evening I think I would have actually laughed. I mean, really? Is it really an insult to be called ‘witch’ when you have taken that label apon yourself? It would be akin to me countering with, “You, Christian!”
So, now the question is where do I go from here. I could easily gather up my toys and leave. I could forsake the relationship and take the easy road, but that doesn’t get me anywhere. I could get in their faces and demand that they respect my religious preference. I do have the right after all.
Again, that doesn’t get me anywhere.
Instead, I’ve decided to stand my ground. I did nothing wrong. When I was being verbally attacked I did not respond in kind. I have not and will not ever say anything negative about them. Why? Because, honestly I’ve always considered them family.
My conscious is clean and that is really the most important thing to me at the moment. They may never come around. I’ve accepted that possibility. I hope that given time they will see and understand by my actions that I’m a good person. I hope that they see that I can be a good partner to their son. Really, when it comes down to it the spirituality we all possess is not so different that we can’t coexist. We have different ways of connecting with the divine and I respect their choices. I hope that in time mine will also be respected.
“To thine onself be true…”, Shakespeare.