When Walking The Path, Wear Shoes

When Walking The Path, Wear Shoes

Author: Charmed Boy

I have often asked myself, “Are there others like me?” I am what I like to call a “non- magical” Pagan. I don’t do spell work or ritual. I am just a humble servant of the Goddess. I have tried to cast spells and perform rituals but it never seems to work. I have come to the realization that there are many different types of Pagans out there. There are those of use who cast circles and spells and perform rituals. There are also those like myself who are contented to just be of service.

I began my journey in my sophomore year of high school. I had always known there was something or someone watching over me, I just hadn’t figured what that was yet. I began studying various religions such as Buddhism and Quabalah, which I am still interested in after all these years.

One day I was at the library with my father when I came across the New Age section. I looked at some of the titles and when I found a book on Wicca, I picked it up and started reading.

A friend from high school was also into Wicca. We started wearing black clothing and pentacles. My high school had its various groups. The jocks, the preps, the goths. We were the Witches. Or so we thought. We would meet at a friend’s house and try and cast spells. There is a line from one of my favorite “witchy” movies Practical Magic that applies here: “You can’t practice Witchcraft while looking down your nose at it.” That is, in a sense, what we were doing. We were teenagers. We didn’t know any better.

Later, I discovered Gaia. I was reading a book about various Greek Gods and Goddesses and when I came to the part about Gaia something inside me clicked. For those who don’t know (and I am sure there aren’t very many) , Gaia is the Greek Goddess of Earth. She is the creator of everything that exists in nature. The birds and the winds and the oceans. That is why she is called “Mother Earth”. I felt like I had found what I had been looking for.

I had been hearing a gentle voice in my head comforting me when things went wrong. No, I wasn’t turning into Norman Bates! I had no desire to run a motel or dress in woman’s clothes and chase anyone around with sharp butcher knives. I knew this loving, caring voice could be none other than the Goddess speaking to me.

After High School, I moved from Illinois to Arkansas with my parents. I was bummed because I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if there were any Pagans and Wiccans. I was entering part of the “Bible Belt”. To my amazement, I came across WitchVox.com. I noticed that an event called Pagan Pride Day was going on in Little Rock. I asked my dad if we could go. My father has been supportive of my choice of religion since I first talked with him about it.

On the day we went, I popped a Loreena McKennitt cd in the car’s cd player to get us in the mood. I had never been to an event like PPD and I didn’t know what to expect. The event was being held at a place called Burns Park. We didn’t know where to go, so we stopped at the visitors’ center to ask. The man behind the desk looked up at me when I asked him where the event was and said, “Are you one of them Witch people?” I laughed and said I was. He was smiling when he asked me so I knew he meant no harm.

We followed the directions until we came to a group of tents. We parked and walked across to the entrance. At this point, I was buzzing with excitement. There was the scent of patchouli in the air. We paid the entrance fee and looked around us. There were tents arranged in a circle. We walked around and looked at all the things people were selling. One woman was doing henna tattoos. My dad bought me my first pentacle. We came to a tent where two women were selling homemade perfume and body spray. This was where the patchouli scent was coming from.

I picked up a bottle and smelled it. It smelled like mint and patchouli. One of the women saw me holding the bottle and struck up a conversation with me. Little did I know she would become one of my best friends. She told me her name was Fran and she was the High Priestess of a coven. She held rituals and celebrated the holidays from the circle she had built in the back yard of her trailer. She invited me to attend the next holiday, which was Samhain. We e-mailed each other and on Samhain I went to her house with another friend. When I got there and saw the Circle she had built I was blown away. It was beautiful. The moment I took off my shoes and stepped inside the circle I felt its power and was at peace.

My friend was not Pagan and opted to observe. I had a lot of fun that night. I tasted mead for the first time. It is very good but very strong. Fran and I kept in touch through e-mail and by phone. I was able to attend the next PPD. When I got there Fran was talking with a friend of hers. She ran a tent with friends. When I went up to her to say hello, she didn’t recognize me at first. When I told her who I was she hugged me. We spent most of the day together. She made my father feel welcome. There was entertainment and belly dancing. After it was over and everyone began packing, I was walking to the car with my father when Fran called to me. She gave me a homemade besom her friend had made. A besom is a broom used to clear any negative energy from a room. I will never forget the gift she gave me as long as I live.

The last time I saw Fran was at the last PPD I went to. She was hosting a seminar on Egyptian Gods and Goddesses and history. After that, Fran and I lost touch. One day I decided to e-mail her just to see how she was. We hadn’t spoken for a while, but not because of any hostility between us; we were just busy. I received an e-mail from her husband informing me Fran had passed away. I was heartbroken.

I miss Fran a lot. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. She was a wonderful, courageous woman who loved to laugh and enjoyed the occasional dirty joke. I thank the Goddess every day for the privilege of having known her. One thing I took away from attending the rituals at Fran’s was the realization that spells casting and ritual isn’t for me. I am content with just serving the Goddess to the best of my abilities.

What do I hope you take from this article? Be content in your own skin. So you don’t cast spells. So you don’t do ritual. You are serving the God and or Goddess by praying and making offerings. They are spiritual Parents and They love us whether we choose to perform an elaborate ritual… or just to say a prayer and make an offering.

Also, cherish the time you have with your friends. You never know when they might not be there anymore.

Cast your eyes to the ocean. Cast your soul to the sea. When the dark night seems endless, please remember me.” — Loreena McKennitt

Walking The Path As A Public Witch

Walking The Path As A Public Witch

Author: Medea

I am a ‘public Witch’. The phrase means different things to different people but generally it means I am one who has come ‘out of the broom closet’. That has come to mean different things to me as the years have gone by.

I never was really in the ‘broom closet’. From the time I was introduced to The Craft by way of The Tarot at age eighteen, I was very open about it. Sometimes the openness was just for ‘shock value’. Sometimes it was just to be ‘different’. More often than not my openness was just a part of my personality. Like a puppy, I gleefully and playfully was just ‘me’ all over the place.

Now, at the age of forty-seven (can I really be that old?) and High Priestess in my tradition, I am still open about it, yet in very different ways. I rarely go for ‘shock value’ anymore (there are, however, those occasions when I cannot seem to help myself) . I have been a professional Nurse for twenty plus years and have learned in some instances the less said, the better. This learned, of course, the hard way. In many, many areas of my life I am much more tolerant and not so quick to take offense. I cannot attribute this to age or wisdom, as in many ways I am very immature and like it that way. It is a by-product of the path in which I have chosen to walk. One of the many, many gifts I receive.

I no longer feel the need to flash a Pentacle ring or necklace every chance I get. Most jewelry associated with the Craft and my religion are worn in private or under my clothes, close to my heart, as they should be. Yet, if I choose to wear such things in public (or forget to take them off) I make no effort to hide them, give no explanations, and make no apologies. My car is no longer adorned with bumper stickers proclaiming me ‘Witch’ or ‘Happy Heathen’. I didn’t take them off, but simply quit feeling the need to replace them each time I had to replace a vehicle. Yet I would not refrain from putting one on my bumper if it caught my fancy.

These days when I find it necessary or appropriate to speak of the Divine in general company I am as apt to say ‘God’ as ‘Goddess’ or ‘The Gods’. I have seen that getting caught up in nomenclature or schematics lessons somehow the sacredness of what one speaks of. If I am asked what Church I go to (a common question here in the South) I tell them. I don’t use flowery or holier- than -thou phrases such as ‘Nature is my Church’.

I say I am Pagan, if need be I say I am ‘Witch’, but more than that, I say I am a person of faith. And in some eyes I see the flash of recognition and in others I see distrust and incomprehension. These things no longer bother me. I am not meant to crusade. Neither am I, or my life, meant to be perfect. I can lapse in my old ways from time to time without being ‘lost’. I can make mistakes.

These days my Pentacle hangs on the lamppost in my yard. It hangs there for protection of my home and property as well as a nod to The Craft. It matters not who sees it and who does not. My home is Pagan and I call it a Temple House. It is where our rituals are mostly held. Where our classes are held. Where I sit and work on my computer on things that are important to the Temple. It is filled with altars which range from very simple to elaborate. Like all things, they change as they should, and I understand one does not need the trappings of religion to walk one’s faith. The house is lived in. It is welcoming to The Gods and Spirits I call, to my blood family and my Temple family and to visitors who come and go. It is meant to be welcoming to visitors of all faith and I believe for the most part it is. It is a work in progress, like the Temple itself. Like all things which grow and change. Like me.

I returned to the place I was born and raised after a twenty-year hiatus. It is a rural area in the Wilds of Tennessee, deep in the Bible Belt. It is a wonderful and beautiful place and the people are wonderful and beautiful too. Yet suspicions and prejudices linger along side traditions that smack of the Old Religion. I am known as a Witch and there is no mistake I am ‘the Real Thing’. At first I was humored, seen as a local girl who went ‘Out West’ and got some very strange ideas. There is often surprise when it is learned I was first introduced to the Craft in good ol’ Nashville, Tennessee. But here in the Wilds, Nashville, too, is a long way and there are many strange ideas to be found there. Maybe not as strange as ‘Out West’, but still strange.

When the realization came that this is not a passing fad for me, and that not only did I practice what I believed but ‘preached’ what I practiced the attitudes began to change. Family members and childhood friends, some I loved dearly and had missed for a long time, began to avoid me. Their attempts to ‘save my soul’ fell on deaf ears, and I took offense to being prayed for in Churches that I would ‘find my way and be saved’. They could not convert me, could not understand when I asked ‘saved from what?’ or said ‘I’m already saved’. And so I became a lost cause and to some a threat. There is no brand of persecution as scorching as that of those we know and love. My invitations to my home were unanswered by some. It became clear there were homes in which I was no longer welcome.

The Goddess does not demand sacrifice though at times it may seem so. I eventually came to understand that in order to have the things I found important in my life there were some things that by nature had to go. There is always grief, but as all things it passes and is, if not understood, accepted.

There were those who came and went. And there are those who stayed. Rituals of one became rituals of two and then three and then as many as fifteen at any given time. Others want card readings or advice or a little magick to ‘help out a situation’. Sometimes they are open about it and do not care who knows or what is thought of their association with me. Sometimes they come on the sly. I have learned to recognize those who come for a reason, such as the Goddess may have, and those who want what I can give and firmly believe me to be going to a Christian hell. There are those who do not care what becomes of me, but care about what it is I can do. Sometimes I still grow angry, usually out of hurt from the fall of one who I may have at some point respected. Mostly I do what I feel to be right and it has become very easy.

Inevitably the question will come from somewhere: ‘How did you get into that?’ that, of course, being Paganism or Witchcraft and sometimes thinly veiled ‘in league with The Devil’. I no longer feel the need to explain how Christianity never ‘felt right’ for me, implying of course I was somehow superior to that particular belief. These days I usually shrug and say ‘Like anyone of faith, I was called to it.’ This leaves little to argue about.

In my tradition today we celebrate Lenaia at the time of Imbolc, yet like so many things, the lines are blurred and the messages are the same. This Imbolc season I find myself taking stock and reflecting on many things about my life and the Path I walk. They, this life and this path, have somewhere along the line become one and the same. Perhaps it is the knowledge of having achieved this very thing, without setting out to do so or even hoping that I could, which is causing me to reflect. Perhaps it is my age, and the realization that, though I am not so old, I have most certainly lived longer in this life than I am going to live. It could be the weathering of so many changes over the last several years, some devastating enough to make me question my faith. Having come to terms with myself I have accepted many things I thought I could not. I can do this; accept these things, because at some point I began to trust that my Gods know what they are doing.

In January of 2001, I performed a solitary ritual outside in the yard at the old house my brother and I shared, divorced siblings clinging together in the changes of life. This was many years after I had picked up my first Tarot deck and felt the power of Otherworlds and the promise of mysteries revealed in them. It was cold and the Full Winter Moon rose high in a dark and starless sky. The moon was the color of ecru and its light brightened and dimmed with my incantation and my song. I had felt and witnessed the Power of the presence of the Divine before. I had seen first hand the workings of magick. Yet this was different. It was as if I were tapped on the shoulder. I had the feeling that Someone had finally gotten my attention. She had been waiting patiently for me to notice She wanted my attention. The voice I heard on the Wind, though the night was Windless, was real even though I could not make out the words. It was as if there was one voice, no, a thousand voices, and though the words were unintelligible I knew they said ‘Follow Me’.

I did not call the God and Goddess by name then, a last holdout of my Pentecost upbringing. They were to me The Lord and Lady. Yet I knew there were names, many names, and I would come to know Them. Although I became a Priestess of Hekate, it was Diana, the Huntress Mother, who called to me that night. I now know Her feel and Her smell and I recognize Her voice. When I hear Her name mentioned I see in my mind’s eye the silver disk floating in the Winter Sky. I often thank Her for calling me.

It wasn’t long after that I held my first private Imbolc ritual, as I have ever since, as I will continue to do. The day was sunny, bright, and cold. The kind of day that often depressed me. With stick incense in hand (patchouli because that is all I had) and the instructions from Scott Cunningham’s ‘Wicca’ in my head I picked my way through the thickets behind our rental house. I found a clearing and sat down, my nose running and the frozen ground pressing against my too thin pants for the weather. I meditated in silence, one thing I was only beginning to get good at. I sat there a long while, sometimes registering the sound of small animals in the thickets. Somehow understanding the sounds of the animals were gifts. I then told the Gods the things I have told them many times since:

I am Your daughter and Your lover. I give myself to You in this life and in any others to come. Set my feet upon the path You wish for me. Teach me the things I need to know. Give me the strength to learn them. I honor You and I love You. So Mote it be.

I meant those words the day I said them. And many times after, even as I wondered how hard this life has to get. I mean them now. The Gods listened and they knew I meant them and they have granted me the very things I asked for.

I love this life. It is at times messy and ugly, often chaotic, and on occasion extremely painful. It is equally interesting, comforting, and fun. And so there is balance. And so I am very, very blessed.

I love being Pagan. It is a wonderful thing to know what one’s path is and to be allowed to walk it. The Buddhist say ‘do the dishes for the sake of doing the dishes’. The clean dishes are only a result of doing the dishes correctly and wholeheartedly. Clean dishes are not the goal, doing the task well is the goal, everything else is, well, gravy. They say the same about the journey we call life. The journey is the point, the destination only the result of taking the journey well and wholeheartedly. Take the journey for the sake of taking the journey, walk the path for the sake of walking the path. Every now and then cast your eyes to the top of the mountain for a moment, but only a moment, focus on your goal, reassess your progress, make the proper adjustments, and get back to the task at hand.

In giving true love for the sake of giving true love, I have been given the truest of love. In giving friendship for the sake of giving friendship, I have received friendship. In being faithful for the sake of being faithful, I am given faithfulness. In giving mercy and kindness and justice for the sake of giving mercy and kindness and justice, I have received mercy and kindness and justice far beyond that I ever expected. In teaching the things I know for the sake of teaching the things I know I have been taught. And such fine teachers I have.

I walk the Pagan Path and the Path of the Priestess (and yes, Witch) for many reasons but mainly because it is my journey, what is put before me to do. It is an awesome task, an honor, and a door to many fleeting moments of happiness, which add up to a joyful life when all is said and done. Sometimes this path of mine is walked on nothing but faith because all else seems to elude me. Yet that which eludes me becomes mine if it is meant to be, and though I question and rail against the way, I am committed.

Along the way I catch the most peaceful sunrises, beautiful sunsets, healing breezes, and mighty storms. I am taught humility; I am reprimanded, led gently back when astray, and kicked hard when I need it. I am loved unconditionally and I know this without a doubt. I neither fear Death nor look for it, waiting for the rewards that I think might be my due. My rewards are many, and they are now. I may at times dread the act of dying and wonder if I will be granted a merciful death or if suffering at the end of this life is part of my lesson and task. Yet I trust that I will have what is needed for me and what is in the end the best. And I will not make that journey alone.

Those who have gone before will welcome me. The Gods will guide me and the Lady Hekate will walk with me as She always has. Cunningham pointed out that there is a difference in believing in something and knowing something. Many of the things I thought I believed I have come to know. To know a thing to be true is to accept it without having to understand it. There are many things I do understand and many things I will someday understand. But knowing, that is something that is not given lightly. It cannot be earned or bought; it can only come from walking the journey and walking it with an open heart and a willing soul.

I am one of many who aid this Phoenix we call Paganism to rise. My voice is among the silent ones who roar their presence into this world in this time. Our books and our Temples were burned and like so many things, though the way could have been easier, it had to be. Our Temples stand in our hearts and in our souls, in our country homes, and our suburban yards, in our small apartments in sprawling cities. This wonderful thing we call the Internet weaves us together across many, many miles. We have new books with words from Powerful hearts. We have remnants from the past which survive and which are important yet unimportant and therefore kept in perspective. We have the new and the old in which to learn and to build from. Balance. As it should be.

I am parched with thirst, and perishing,
But drink of me, the ever-flowing spring on the right (where) there is a fair cypress.
Who are you? Where are you from?
I am a child of Earth and starry Heaven, but my race is of Heaven (alone)
— Orphic Lamella from Thessaly

Good Saturday Afternoon, dearies!

Well I know I am sort of running late, what can I say? A lot, lol! Just the moment I think my life is going to be normal, I get throwed another curve ball

My day started out this morning at 3:30 a.m. Why I woke up at that time I don’t know. But I woke up wide awake and ready to go. I made coffee, dried clothes, cleaned up the living room and after all that I cleaned me up. I actually sit down and put on makeup. Makeup is something that I seldom put on anymore. I wore it for years and when I quit wearing it, no one noticed at all. Which pissed me off thinking of all the time I wasted putting the stuff on! Anyway, when I am around my children they prefer their mother to wear makeup, especially the son. The daughter tells me I look better without it. I think both of them have come to realize, Mother don’t give a crap what they say. She is going to do what she darn well wants too. Back to this morning, I got all cleaned up where we could go to one of my grandchildren’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. If you are not familiar with “The Cheese” it is a pizza place with games. The party took place at 9;30 this morning. I am sorry at that time it makes me sick to my stomach to think of eating pizza. I got to thinking back and I never ate pizza early in the mornings even when I was a teenager. Anyway, we got up and drove 25 miles to the party. We were actually early for a change. My son was glad to see us. His oldest daughter was playing games when we came in and my son was following her around. So we met up with them and talked and followed the grandkid around. I know we have to look hilarious at times. But when we first got there, we ran in to my son’s father-in-law. We walked right by him and he didn’t bother to speak or nothing. He acted like we were invisible. Which don’t bother me because his is the backside of a donkey. My son’s lovely mother-in-law wasn’t there yet. She is one of those people you would just love to meet in a dark alley and of course, I have told her this. If it appears, I don’t like these people, you are right. I don’t. The bad blood started even before my son married their daughter. I thought I was the only one that she got under their skin so bad. I was wrong. I didn’t realize how the woman was till we went out one time for my son’s birthday. We went to a local restaurant for his birthday. We were seated at a large table. We were running late that day and my son was standing outside waiting on us. He told us he just needed to get some air. We went in and future daddy-in-law was turned watching a basketball game. He didn’t turn around and speak or nothing. I sit down and looked at my husband and he looked at me. We were both thinking how rude this man was. Then during the meal, my daughter’s boyfriend at the time was talking to me about changing out a transmission in a car. When my son tried to talk, his future mommy-in-law kept telling him to shut up.  Every time that boy opened his mouth, she told him to shut up, you don’t know what you are talking about, just shut up! My face got bright red and I stood up and knocked the chair in the floor. I leaned over on the table and was getting ready to shut her mouth and my daughter grabbed me.  My daughter told me, I needed to go to the bathroom with her.  We went to the bathroom and I think the whole restaurant heard me hit the towel holder. I busted two knuckles but I felt a hell of a lot better. So after staying in  the bathroom for about 15 minutes, I cooled off. When we got back, mommy-in-law didn’t open her mouth the rest of the time. A couple of weeks later, my son was out at their house. Something was said and I don’t know what it was but my son politely told them not to mess with him because his mother was a witch. I liked to have died. I told him you just don’t go around telling that to everyone. Why do you think I waited till you were in your 20’s before you found out? Well needless to say, I live in the Bible Belt and these people have enough religion for half the country. My son was married in a church that was not his religion he was brought up in.  He deserted his religion, his Path and almost his family. His wife doesn’t like for him to come out here at all. When he does he suddenly develops a backbone. I don’t know how he puts up with any of them. None of them want me around the grandkids. I have talked to my husband about it and he tells me to ignore them. That they are ignorant and you can’t combat it. But it is needless to say, they don’t like me and it don’t hurt my feelings one bit. Back to the birthday party, it went fine. Mommy-in-law and her sister held the baby the whole time, we were there. I finally ask out loud, if my son would get his daughter were I could see my grandchild. I got to kiss and love on the baby. The funny part is that see looks just exactly like my sister when she was little. She has the black hair and brown eyes, I love it. And of course, I keep telling them she looks just like her too. Evil ain’t I, lol!

So we left the party and on the way home, I got threw for a whirlwind. At one time, we bought my son a Ford Ranger. He got to working and bought himself a new truck. So we inherited the Ranger back. I would rotate driving  my Explorer one day and the next the truck. I had some kind of surgery, I don’t remember what but I know the truck had sat for about a month. My cousin told me that he had put a new battery on the truck. No problem, that truck will start on a dime. Yeah, right, lying crock of —-.  I was mad and I was hurting. The truck never got started and no one drove it. My lovely cousin wanted to know if I wanted to sell it. We agreed on a price and he came out here to get it. Well he liked to have never got it started. Then after he got it home, he gave me along list of things that was wrong with. I told him he should have known this stuff because he was the only mechanic that ever worked on it. The truck has never run right and half the time it just stays in the driveway of my cousin’s. Today my husband told me why the Ranger doesn’t run and do like a normal truck, he cursed it. WHAT? You did WHAT again? Then he asked me if I wanted to know why my little red jewel of a car was sitting in our driveway. This was my mindblower, he had cursed that car also. Well the sailor side of me came out. He said he didn’t want me to sell the truck and he sure in the heck didn’t want me buying that red thing. But the thought of him cursing his wife’s own car, I am still mulling this over. He knows how to curse that is for sure because he is a Druid. I am beginning to think a little on the dark side too. He mentioned cursing something a few weeks ago, told me how he would do it and everything. I just looked at him. It did bother me and give me a clue when he mentioned using blood in his cursing. When he told me this we were about 20 minutes away from the house. I kept quiet and kept praying let me get home without pulling this truck over and throwing his ass out. I got home and cleared my head some I have asked help from a higher  power to help set my mind on the right course to deal with this. I have never known of anyone to curse me or any of my things especially a family member???? It leaves you dumb-founded as to what to do. If he was a total stranger, I know what I would do.  He’s family. I took an oath a long time ago, I would never cast against another family member no matter what. I can take the curse off the car but the minute I do he will re-curse it. So what do you do but a binding spell on your own husband? What gets me, is my own husband going to cause me to go against my own ethics and morals? I never, ever harm or cast against a family member. I know one thing, he has gave me quite a bit to mull over.  I know posting in my group use to give me comfort and clear my head. It also cleared my head enough I could hear my higher power when she talked to me. So I am sure the blog will do the same for me. If you see me posting for the next 72 hours don’t think a thing about it. I am just clearing my mind and cooling off. Till then………

Lady A

P. S.

If you have any suggestion or have ever been in a similar circumstance, I would love to hear how you handled it and also your suggestions.