A Blessed & Glorious Tuesday Morning To All!

Good Tuesday Morning, dearest friends!  I hope it is a beautiful and glorious day wherever you are. Today I have one word I want to emphasis, it is “VOTE!”

Today is a very, very important day. It is a day that if you don’t vote you could regret for the rest of your life. Seriously, I honestly believe the rights of women are at stake and also our Religious freedoms. Maybe you think I am an extremist in regards to these two issues. But I can guarantee you I am not. I have done my research and I believe with all my heart, we have a lot to lose if the wrong candidates get elected. Stop to think about it, then go to your local voting place and vote your heart. Whatever you do today, make your voice heard and vote!

The Hanged Man Speaks – meditation/evocation

The Hanged Man Speaks

by Miriam Harline

meditation/evocation

In the early evening, orange-gold light still pouring through half the sky, purple hazing the east, you walk along a country lane, two tracks of dust fine as corn meal and cool on your bare feet. The air smells sweet, of cut hay, and as you crest a hill you see before you a half-mown hayfield. Its dark stubble lies close-shorn on the earth; among the stubble conical haystacks rise regularly. Through a dent in the hills, the last rays of sun gild the remaining hay; its blond heads nod, rustling, in the breeze.

Something about the hayfield attracts you, and you cut off the road, clamber over the grey-tan split-log fence into the field, carefully pick your way through the blunt stubble. It’s only after a few moments you see, against the bright ridge of hay still standing, a dark form. A scarecrow, you think, but why, in hay? You go forward, curious. The sun lies on the horizon, molten; as you look, the last gold bit winks out. A cold breeze brushes your arm.

Walking forward, you see the scarecrow hangs from a gibbet, the form silhouetted black against the sky. A cold finger runs down your spine; someone here has a strange sense of humor. Still you go forward; you think maybe this is art.

You close on the scarecrow. At the base of its square pole, a sickle leans; the edge of the steel blade gleams violet. You look up, and you see this is no scarecrow, but a man, hanging upside-down by his left ankle, right leg bent behind left in the pose of the Hanged Man of the Tarot. You take a sharp breath in.

“Hello,” the man says. He smiles at you: it looks strange upside-down. You can’t seem to reply. “I’ve a favor to ask you.”

“What’s that?” you stammer.

“Untie me, will you?” Catching hold of the gallows pole, the man climbs up hand over hand till he can grab the rope from which he hangs, curls himself in a ball. “I’m ready.”

His rope is rough hemp three fingers thick, tied low on the pole, knot big as a fist. You think, I’ll never get anywhere with this; still, feeling his gaze on you, you begin picking at the knot with your nails. Just when you begin to despair, the first loop loosens; bit by bit, you manage to untie the knot.

The last loop falls. Landing with a thump, the man quickly frees his ankle, rubbed raw by the rope. He jumps up brushing his hands, extends one to you. “Many thanks.”

So athletic was his pole-climbing and leap up you can’t help wondering why he didn’t untie himself. “It’s a geas, a rule, that somebody has to untie me. I can’t do it myself. Now I owe you a favor.” As he stands before you, you notice his strange clothing, a kind of jumpsuit quilted all of diamonds of blue, yellow and red. “Where were you going just now?” he asks.

“I was taking a walk.”

“Mind if I walk with you?” You shake your head, and presently you walk together down the lane’s two dust tracks.

The lane cups the hayfield in a long curve, then veers to the left, where girdled by a split-log fence a wood rises. On either side of the fence-break where the path enters, sentinel tree-trunks stand; beyond, shadows fall black and green.

The wood gives you pause, but the hanged man walks right in, and you follow him. The air in the wood is noticeably cooler; it smells of leaf-mold. Great trunks of trees loom to either side; in the undergrowth creepers tangle saplings.

“Hot day today, wasn’t it?” the hanged man asks conversationally.

“Yes.”

“But autumn’s coming, nonetheless.” He smiles a little. “Autumn’s always coming.”

“I guess that’s true.”

“At autumn comes harvest.” You nod, looking over at him; is he going somewhere with this peculiar conversation?

Just then the track you’re following comes to a crossroads. The crossing path runs perpendicular to yours and is just as wide, its dirt the same dark grey. “Which way do you want to go?” the hanged man asks.

You frown at him. “I don’t know. I was just taking a walk.”

He stares back, a smile quirking the corner of his mouth. “Turn left, why don’t you? You seem like you need some luck.”

You stare at him. Can you trust him to steer you? What does he mean by luck? What are you doing with him in this dark wood? His smile broadens a little; you feel that he can hear what you’re thinking, and that he’s laughing at you.

Turning on your foot, you do as he says. His and your footfalls pad quietly in the leaf-mold together; branches whisper as you brush by. The wood grows darker, shadow collecting in the underbrush and at the bases of the trees. A crow caws behind you.

Fear rises in you. You don’t want to be lost in this forest at night. But just as the fear tightens, you see on the path paler light ahead.

You emerge from the wood into countryside, hazy blue with dusk. Your new track borders a hayfield; you see it’s the same field, the uncut side. “Come,” the hanged man says, and you both climb the fence into the field.

You brush through hay taller than your head. Dry stalks crush below your feet, releasing perfume; seeds fall into your hair and clothes; your movement makes a sound like water. The hanged man walks ahead of you, the colors of his suit almost lost in dusk.

Then you break through the last unmown hay into stubble, dark and damp now with dew. The sickle still leans against the gallows-post, a shadow against a shadow; you touch the gnarled wooden handle worn smooth with use.

“I’ve a favor to ask you,” the hanged man says. “Tie me up again.”

You stare at him in blue near-darkness. You sense he is smiling.

How Much is That Witch in the Window?

How Much is That Witch in the Window?

Author: Sage Runepaw

We’ve maybe even written an essay to someone telling them that witches are real, that they live, breathe, and look like normal people and don’t have sallow, waxy skin with pointy black hats on, that they don’t fly on broomsticks or sacrifice babies or spew dark Words of Evil to the Devil or even that they cackle, “I’ll get you… and your little dog too!” We’ve even probably surprised someone by telling them we even (gasp!) had children of our own who play among all the other children.

We may have become enlightened through our personal beliefs and practices, and we may have taken offense at one point or another at the stereotypical ‘witchy’ image- but at what cost?

The cost of a part of our childhood?

Just think about it a moment, if you will. We all celebrated Halloween at some point or another (unless of course, we were forbidden by our parents for some reason that likely at the time seemed horrible and cruel to us). We all dressed up- put on some flimsy store-bought costume or something we thought was the best we could make at the time, or painted our faces or done -something- to get dressed up and raid the local streets in search of a free sugar overdose.

And it was great, wasn’t it? In fact you maybe even bounced off the walls until 3 in the next morning.

But hey, we were kids then, right? Now we’re Witches! – and we have to take Halloween seriously and point our fingers at the stereotypical witchy images we see every October, don’t we? Samhain is a death-energy time, not a time where children should be dressing up in some image that was used to persecute probably innocent people centuries ago, right?

I admit, this sounds a bit harsh, and perhaps it is- but isn’t there someone out there who’s every bit as sick of people pointing and taking offense to the stereotypes? Sure, they might go away if we wail and stomp our feet loud enough, but seriously- just take a look around any city or even on the Internet, and you’ll see that stereotypes don’t go away.

If anything, they just get ignored and outdated, but they’re there. If we take offense to them and work to combat them, power to you- but- and maybe this is just me- I’m tired of the fighting.

Get your robes back in proper order; don’t let the stereotyping phase you. As I hinted about above, we too once played dress up and might have dressed up as a witch years ago. Sure- what’s wrong with that? As it may have fooled the spirits once upon somewhen, didn’t you feel free, feel -alive- then?

Where then, along the path of your life, did that suddenly get traded out for taking offense to the stereotypical witchy image?

As a child, I never did dress up as a witch, I admit- I personally favored black cats for years on end, and a few times, something else which is now forgotten- but my grandmother, who raised me (and is Catholic, though it doesn’t matter for the purposes of this essay) always had this one Halloween decoration we would put up year after year.

Apparently, I’d dubbed it “Witchypoo” when I was a toddler, and the name stuck. It was this black bead-eyed, stuffed witch with black and orange felt for robes and none of the green-skinned stereotyping. And she sat on this little round wooden dowel broom. I wish I could show you it; it was very cute. Amazingly cute. But you get the point- I took childlike, innocent glee at this witchy figure that took to dangling underneath the kitchen light every October.

And just last October, my grandmother bought a stuffed mantle decoration of three green-faced witches smiling crookedly and brightly out at the world, with purple and black robes and stuffed witchy hats and a pumpkin at their feet. All of October thus far, I’ve worked retail and sold many such stereotypical things: hundreds of pounds of candies, spooky costumes- and witchy ones, too.

Should I be offended by my grandmother’s decoration? No, not really- I could choose to if I wanted. She knew by that point what my practice was, that it wasn’t Satanic (though she expressed her worries and I allayed them as best I knew how at the time) and was something I was serious about.

Should I be offended by working retail and selling these things for a large chain store? I could.

Would the same things offend someone else who’s witchy? Maybe; everyone’s different. But if I chose to be offended and started fighting against the stereotypes, who knows who I could impact?

What if there was a child just down the street telling her mother that she wanted to be a witch for Halloween? Or that she wanted to be a smart witch like Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter movies? – Or something along those lines.

Now, let’s take it a bit further. Supposing I stuck that stereotypical image on my living room windowsill for everyone to look at whenever they walk by my suburban home this month, or on Halloween eve next to a glowing carved pumpkin? Supposing some youth dressed up in a Witch outfit this Halloween saw it, and after some time had passed, found out about ‘real’ witches and that Halloween became a catalyst for him or her- a catalyst that spurred the youth on to become a real witch and transform their lives through their spirituality?

I’m tired of the fighting over stereotypes in a bid to be recognized as legitimate- aren’t you? We already -know- we are legitimate. We know that, and we know also that with time comes acceptance. We work our butts off year round at our jobs and taking care of our children, and fight for our rights.

Why can’t we just recover that moment of our childhood where we took glee at these figures again, if even for a little while? Sure, they might be meant to offend us- but we have the choice to -let- it affect us. Those stereotypes are images of the past. Yes, let’s change it- but let us not lose a part of ourselves by becoming too jaded to smile.

Even the best warriors need to smile and laugh on occasion, after all.

I, for one, see those witch decorations on tree trunks and bushes that portray the witch as having run into a tree face first as an amusing reminder not to get too “hung up” on things in life.

So let us make our celebrations for Samhain and honor the ancestors- but times are a’ changing. Even though there may still be witch-hunts and witch wars somewhere, we cannot fight all the time.

Let us laugh for once, regain a bit of the child within, and see this coming Samhain with newer eyes. Let us release feeling as if we must fight for our rights all the time- just for a bit- and relax. While we can educate our children (if we have them) about those stereotypical images, we can still take time to let our inner child take a breather. Our ancestors, after being oppressed for so long, would want to take a breather from being persecuted.

We have the choice this time- but it is we who are doing the fighting. Perhaps it’s rightfully so- but no warrior can fight all the time.

Even though it’s the dark half of the year, let the light inside you grow brighter. Give yourself a much-deserved respite from the fighting- and smile. Maybe those decorations will help some young one down the road become a priest or priestess of the Craft. After all, you never really know how the universe works. Let us restore our own inner children by taking a brief break. The gods know we work hard enough all the time as it is.

Someday, we’ll achieve what we desire. But we must be careful of those who could be affected- and we must be careful not to let the price of that achievement be our own inner children. We must not become jaded.

Balance in all things, after all.